Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes said people who support "God, country, and guns" are espousing the same "dangerous" rhetoric as members of the terrorist group ISIS.
Barnes made the comments in a Twitter post in November 2015, two days after terrorists carried out a string of coordinated attacks in France that killed 130 people. ISIS—which claimed at the time that it had established a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria—took credit for the attacks.
"There are people in the legislature who feel a caliphate threat is real in America," said Barnes in a Nov. 16, 2015, post. "I try to remind them of their theocratic votes."
"God, country, and guns is as dangerous of a rhetoric here as it is over there," added Barnes.
The comments could fuel concerns over Barnes's fiery and often controversial social media posts. His opponent, Republican senator Ron Johnson, has slammed Barnes over posts praising Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei and defending Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, which were first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
Barnes did not respond to a request for comment.
In other posts publicized by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Barnes said he "really could not care less about a Second Amendment 'right'" to bear arms and mocked House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) for supporting gun rights after the Republican got shot by a deranged Bernie Sanders supporter in 2017.
He also slammed George Washington as a slave owner after another Twitter user called Washington "one of the top presidents."
"Yeah. I mean, if slave owning is your thing, have at it!" wrote Barnes.
Barnes has tried to distance himself from last year's "defund the police" and "Abolish ICE" movements despite taking funding from those groups and making social media posts that indicate he supported those campaigns. The Johnson campaign has highlighted the Democrat's long history of far-left positions, including his support for ending cash bail, his argument that the United States must "stymie capitalism" to address climate change, and his opposition to pipeline construction and domestic energy production.
Johnson holds a 3.3-point lead over Barnes, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. The competitive race could determine party control of the Senate next year.