Republican lawmaker Chris Collins is facing backlash over a racially-tinged television ad that attacked Nate McMurray, his Democratic challenger for the 27th District of New York.
The ad, which began airing in the Buffalo area Friday, features a video that McMurray released before the US-North Korea summit in June.
In the ad, McMurray speaks in Korean, while the Collins campaign provides subtitles.
The translation suggests that McMurray “worked to send jobs to China and Korea” when he taught American law in Seoul.
The ad also shows that Democratic candidate, whose wife is a naturalized citizen from South Korea, “helped American companies hire foreign workers” while showing a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the background.
“Fewer jobs for us … more jobs for China and Korea,” it adds.
The 30-second video ends with, “You can take Nate McMurray at his word.”
The ad comes after Collins was indicted on federal insider trading charges.
McMurray, who watched it with his 10-year-old son, denied speaking about jobs in his video and dismissed the attack as “xenophobic.”
“It was hurtful,” McMurray told the New York Times. “They’ve used everything in their power to make it look like the very fact of speaking Korean or Chinese is un-American or wrong.”
He said that the video supposedly highlighted his language skills and expressed optimism for peace.
However, he took it down after becoming disappointed with President Donald Trump’s reception of Kim during the summit.
Several local media outlets described the ad as “misleading.”
Rep. Ted Lieu, a Democrat serving for the 33rd district of California, slammed it as “racist.”
“Take your racist ad and shove it,” the Taiwanese-born lawmaker wrote on Twitter. “You are an embarrassment to the House of Representatives.”
Dear @RepChrisCollins: Take your racist ad and shove it. You are an embarrassment to the House of Representatives.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 25, 2018
Lieu capped his tweet encouraging those offended of Collins’ ad to visit McMurray’s campaign site.
Users weighed in to criticize the ad:
Despite the uproar, the Collins campaign remains unapologetic.
“This is a real video of Nate McMurray that he removed from social media because he didn’t want to defend his efforts to promote a Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement that shipped nearly 100,000 U.S. jobs overseas,” spokesperson Natalie Baldassarre said in a statement to WIVB.
“Nate McMurray needs a new video to explain why he opposes President Trump’s policies that are protecting American jobs and American workers. Hopefully, he’ll leave that video up.”
Speaking to the Buffalo News, Baldassarre criticized Lieu’s remarks, claiming that it came straight from Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s playbook.
“Another day, another tired and false attack from anti-Trump, liberal Democrats. Label everything you don’t like as racist or bigoted,” Baldassarre said. “It’s tired, it’s old and NY-27 working families see right through it.”