Republican primary candidate Carly Fiorina has been accused of ambushing a group of Iowa pre-schoolers, who were on a field trip to a botanical garden, with an anti-abortion rally.
As a part of a day of campaigning across Iowa in order to boost her stagnant presidential campaign, Fiorina held a “right to life” forum at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, where around 15 children were directed to the front of a make-shift stage.
But one parent said he never gave Fiorina permission to have his child sit with her at the event.
“The kids went there to see the plants,” Chris Beck, the father of a four-year-old with whom Fiorina appeared, told the Guardian. “She ambushed my son’s field trip.”
Fiorina, who has made her anti-abortion stance a central part of her presidential campaign, reportedly discussed at the rally a series of undercover videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood trafficking in fetal body parts.
Beck said he was not comfortable with his son attending such a discussion.
“Taking them into a pro-life/abortion discussion [was] very poor taste and judgment,” he told the Guardian. “I would not want my four-year-old going to that forum — he can’t fully comprehend that stuff.”
“He likes dinosaurs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers,” he added.
When asked if he would support Fiorina’s White House bid, Beck said he did not know enough about the former Hewlett-Packard CEO.
“And after today, she wouldn’t get my vote for sure,” he said.
In a statement from the Fiorina campaign to the Guardian, a spokeswoman said: “We are happy that these children chose to come to Carly’s event with their adult supervisor.”
The campaign later said the children "followed" Fiorina into the event.
"In Des Moines yesterday, a group of preschoolers along with their parents and teachers followed Carly right into the event she was speaking at for Iowa Right to Life," Carly for President Deputy Campaign Manager Sarah Isgur said in a statement.
"Earlier, she’d run into the kids in the Botanical Gardens and watched the koi with them for a while. I guess the kids must have thought she was pretty neat because then their teachers and parents and the kids all followed Carly into the event complete with Carly stickers," she added.