I got a phone call this afternoon from Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand regarding an email he received today (Wednesday, Nov. 18) from the Louisiana Republican Party. The email, like U.S. Sen. David Vitter's entire gubernatorial campaign these days, falsely and deliberately tries to foster mass hysteria about Syrian refugees in Louisiana. It is, in my opinion, the most irresponsible, desperate, even despicable piece of campaign hysteria I have ever seen - and I’ve seen a lot. Worst of all, the GOP has the gall to solicit money at the end of the email.
"Somebody’s going to get killed” because of this kind of thing, Normand said to me. He's right. Catholic Charities, the arm of the Archdiocese of New Orleans that is helping resettle Syrian refugees in Louisiana, already has received threats, which Louisiana State Police Supt. Mike Edmondson confirmed yesterday (Nov. 17).
Ironically, David Vitter's wife Wendy is the general counsel for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, which means she also is the lawyer for Catholic Charities - the people who are bringing in refugees. Apparently the senator is so desperate that he doesn't even mind throwing his wife and Archbishop Gregory Aymond under the bus for a few cheap political points.
For the record, the Syrian man that Vitter and the GOP say is “missing” and “unaccounted for” is totally accounted for. He had to fill out multiple forms before moving around in Baton Rouge, let alone before moving to Washington D.C. to be with his family. (See The Advocate's story HERE confirming all this.) It's noteworthy that The Advocate story came out a full day before the GOP sent the hysterical email, which means they had to have known they were spreading lies in order to foster hysteria - and raise money.
This whole episode shows just how desperate Vitter has become. Apparently there is no lie he won't tell, no line he won't cross, no life he won't put in jeopardy if that's what it takes to win. He has been called "Bobby Jindal on steroids," but that's an understatement. He's more like Frank Underwood on steroids.
Here is the text of the GOP email, which has a link to donate in the original (not copied here):
MISSING: Unmonitored Syrian refugee last seen in Baton Rouge
Dear _______ ,
It’s no secret that Obama’s biggest fan in Louisiana is John Bel Edwards. In Tuesday’s gubernatorial debate, John Bel admitted that he would rather talk to the Obama Administration about the flood of incoming Syrian refugees than take action to stop them and do thorough background checks before letting them wander around on our streets.
John Bel and Obama are not the right men to handle this Syrian refugee situation. That much is clear.
Just yesterday, David Vitter had to notify the Obama Administration that a Syrian refugee who had been living in Baton Rouge has gone missing. What kind of accountability is that? There is an unmonitored Syrian refugee who is walking around freely, and no one knows where he is.
That’s why we need to get everyone to the polls on Saturday to vote for David Vitter. Vitter flew up to DC yesterday to introduce legislation in the United States Senate that would stop all incoming refugees until we’ve conducted thorough, adequate background and criminal history checks.
Louisiana needs a Governor who has common sense and will take immediate action to fight to protect us. Just like David did yesterday, he will continue to put Louisianans first when he becomes our next Governor.
Bring your family and friends to the polls this Saturday to vote for a proven leader. It’s not just an election. Your vote decides our future.