Finkenauer condemns Iowa GOP for sharing image of zipper over her mouth: ‘They cannot silence me’

Greg Nash

Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) on Thursday spoke out against the Iowa GOP for sharing a “horrific image” depicting a zipper covering her mouth, saying the Republican Party “cannot silence me.”

“I questioned uplifting this horrific image created by the @IowaGOP, but I think it’s time their gross tactics come out of the shadow of their usual 5 likes,” the 31-year-old first-term lawmaker wrote on Twitter.

“It’s very telling that Rep. Finkenauer’s louder in opposition to a graphic than she is to China,” a spokesman for the Republican Party of Iowa said in a statement to The Hill on Friday. “She has zipped her lips on China and continues bowing to Beijing. Rep. Finkenauer altered our graphic in an attempt to fundraise and gaslight. No one is silencing her she’s doing that all on her own.”

The image was shared by the Iowa GOP on Thursday and also included a similar image of former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. It was tweeted as part of a press release condemning Finkenauer and Biden for their stance on China, dubbing the congresswoman “Absent Abby.”

“Despite China’s nefarious history of unfair trade practices, stealing our data, and intellectual property theft, Rep. Abby Finkenauer has yet to speak up and hold China accountable,” the statement reads. “Iowans deserve to know if she plans to confront the Chinese Communist Party, or if she will stand behind Joe Biden who insists that China is ‘not competition for us.’”

Finkenauer, one of the youngest female members of the House, was the first member of Iowa’s congressional delegation to endorse Biden in January. 

She touted his experience, proposals on infrastructure and the economy and efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

The Iowa GOP compared Finkenauer’s stance to that of Ashley Hinson, the Republican candidate challenging the lawmaker in Iowa’s 1st District.

“Not only has Hinson directly addressed these threats, but she’s also proposed solutions including enforcing China’s pledge to buy more American agriculture products, tightening ‘Buy American’ laws to support American-made pharmaceuticals, and investigating Chinese data stealing,” the group said in the statement.

In a statement to The Hill, Finkenauer’s campaign took issue with the claim that the congresswoman isn’t standing up for American workers, citing the bill she introduced last month to promote using American-made construction materials and guarantee fair wages. 

“Iowa Republicans want to silence Congresswoman Finkenauer because she’s fighting to close the loophole Ashley Hinson voted to create — the one that allows Chinese, instead of American, materials to be used on local infrastructure projects,” campaign spokesperson McKenzie Wilson said. “Abby passed legislation to close that loophole and ensure American materials  are used when repairing our roads and bridges because unlike Hinson, Abby has always stood for American jobs and American workers and has the record to back it up.”

Her campaign also noted that the lawmaker has vowed to hold China and the Trump administration accountable for the impact the ongoing trade war has had on Iowan farmers. 

“The President continues to show that he has no plan to end this protracted trade war that is costing our farmers and businesses billions of dollars,” Finkenauer said last year. “We all want to hold bad actors like China accountable — but the President continues to introduce chaos and uncertainty that we cannot afford.”

—Updated at 6:16 p.m.

Tags 2020 election Abby Finkenauer Ashley Hinson Iowa Iowa GOP Joe Biden

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