Rep. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) has called out Republican challenger Tricia Flanagan for stating that he is “not one of us” — words he says he and his immigrant parents have heard all throughout their lives as Asian Americans.
Flanagan’s claims: Flanagan’s statement comes in a new campaign video to unseat Kim as representative of New Jersey’s third congressional district, a constituency that covers 53 municipalities in Burlington and Ocean Counties. In her ad, she describes Kim as “weak” and someone who “does whatever his overlords tell him to do.”
- Flanagan says Kim votes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “98% of the time.”
- For this, she claims Kim “does not represent the people in our district” nor “our interests.”
- The 3rd Congressional District was one of several districts that voted for former president Donald Trump in the 2020 election while under Democratic control. Flanagan addresses this in her ad, saying Kim is “not one of us” and reminding viewers that he voted to impeach Trump twice.
- Flanagan, who states she is a biochemist, also takes a jab at Gov. Phil Murphy and his COVID-19 response, claiming that he does not understand “real science.” She then circles back to Kim and says he’s done “absolutely nothing except waste our tax dollars on his big fat paycheck.”
Kim’s response: Kim called out Flanagan for her campaign remarks in a Twitter thread on Tuesday. He demanded that she stop saying “he is not one of us,” which he says disrespects him and many Asian Americans.
- “I’ve heard these hurtful words many times as an Asian American,” wrote Kim, who is Korean American. “I am hoping that you said these words without understanding the deeper pain they bring to me and many Asian Americans. The words try to paint me as an ‘other.’ These are words of division not unity.”
- Kim explained that the phrase makes it sound like he does not belong when he in fact grew up, studied and is now raising two children in the same district. “When you say ‘he is not one of us,’ it disrespects my love and connection to this community that raised me and my kids,” he noted.
- Kim went on to share his family’s experiences with racism, such as an incident in which his child was repeatedly called “Chinese Boy.” He also referred to a March attack in New York City, which saw a man assault an elderly Asian woman and tell her “You don’t belong here.”
- Kim concluded his thread urging Flanagan to resolve their differences “without making the other seem like the ‘enemy’ in warring tribes.” He added that the district’s constituents are tired of political division, and Flanagan should perhaps “reconsider” if she’s running to sow it.
Reactions: Kim’s response has drawn support from social media users. Many constituents said they are proud to have him as their representative.
- “Representative Kim, you always go above and beyond to make me proud to be from N.J. Thank you for your service,” one wrote.
- Another commented, “I’ve met with your staff, tackling the issue of extremism in our military. From what I have seen, from the courtesy your employees have shown me, you are not only one of us, you are one of the best of us. And I look forward to continuing to work with you.”
- “I don’t live in your district but you serve New Jersey and the USA with honor and dignity,” another noted. “You don’t only belong in New Jersey, but in D.C. as well!”
- Flanagan responded, hours later, tagging Kim and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.)’s responses as “provably false, defamatory [and] racist” and claims that Kim is “attacking” her.