After critics pummeled Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) for nonsensically blaming the “usual pedo grifters” for America’s infant formula shortage, her office reportedly then insisted that isn’t what she meant in any respect.
A spokesperson for the extremist lawmaker said she wasn’t blaming “pedophile” grifters, but intended “pedo” to mean “children,” author and activist Parker Malloy reported Saturday — which still is unnecessary.
“Pedo” or pedophile is a widely known dogwhistle to QAnon conspiracy theorists who’re baselessy convinced “pedo” Democrats are running a world child sex trafficking operation.
The weird contortion after Stefanik’s outrageous Twitter post was captured in a recorded phone call to the lawmaker’s office by an unidentified “constituent,” Malloy reported in “The Present Age.”
Neither Stefanik nor a representative could immediately be reached for comment, and HuffPost couldn’t confirm the speaker on the recording was a Stefanik spokesperson. However the recorded voice seemed to be equivalent to 1 on an answering machine responding to calls to a Stefanik constituent office.
The unidentified caller asks who the “usual pedo grifters” are that Stefanik refers to in her tweet.
“First off, that is her personal Twitter. Just should note that,” the staffer responds, declaring that the office had received a lot of calls in regards to the issue. “And No. 2, ‘pedo’ isn’t short for ‘pedophile, it’s ‘pedo,’ as in ‘children.’”
“So these are people who find themselves grifting their children?” asks the confused caller. “How are they grifting their children? Or are they children who’re grifting?”
The person responds: “No, not children who’re grifting … people who find themselves grifting on behalf of youngsters.”
When asked to elucidate how that works, the spokesperson says he “can’t really analyze it.” The complete phone call will be heard here:
A staffer on Friday gave a rather different version of “pedo grifters” to The Independent, saying they were Republicans in The Lincoln Project — but apparently didn’t even attempt to begin to elucidate that one.
Mediaite was also told Friday, apparently without explanation: “Pedo grifters refers back to the Lincoln Project.”
The Lincoln Project is a PAC founded and run by Republicans critical of Donald Trump. There may be nothing linking the Lincoln Project to the infant formula shortage — or to pedophilia.
Critics on Friday warned that Stefanik’s irresponsible “pedo” tweet could trigger violence against imagined enemies. A gunman opened fire in 2016 in a Washington, D.C., pizzeria that was baselessly identified as a headquarters for a supposed child trafficking operation. Nobody was injured. The “Pizzagate” gunman was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
“usual pedo grifters” is straight-up QAnon rhetoric that led a gunman to open fire in a DC pizza place believing there have been children trapped in a non-existent basement.
Anyone claiming to legitimately care about children should stop using rhetoric that may get people killed. https://t.co/cl1IkYEkMs
— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) May 13, 2022
Stefanik was also ripped for her heartless call in her tweet to disclaim infant formula to immigrant babies being processed or detained in federal facilities. The federal government is required by law to supply necessities in such situations.
Stefanik blames the Biden administration for the present shortage of infant formula in America. The administration doesn’t manufacture formula; it’s created and sold by three major corporations, which have little competition and a strong control of the market.
The shortage was triggered partly by pandemic-related supply chain issues combined with a massive safety recall by the most important formula producer, Abbott Nutrition, which was forced to shut its Michigan plant earlier this 12 months attributable to contamination concerns.