Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, forcefully rebuked a controversial social media post by the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Tim Donnelly linking rival Neel Kashkari to fundamentalist Islamic law.
Issa, a supporter of Kashkari's bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, said there is no place in public discussion "for this type of hateful and ignorant garbage."
"As far as I'm concerned, this type of stupidity disqualifies Tim Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere," Issa said in a prepared statement Thursday. "Donnelly is no longer a viable option for California voters."
Donnelly apologized for the post Wednesday after being confronted by Kashkari adviser Aaron McLear on KSCO AM 1080 in Santa Cruz. His Facebook page had carried a link to a 2008 U.S. Treasury Department program in which Kashkari was listed as a speaker. The event was meant to help "inform the policy community about Islamic financial services, which are an increasingly important part of the global financial industry."
After acknowledging the incorrect connection, Donnelly brushed aside the criticism.
"If the Washington political establishment would focus their energy of combatting the policies of the Marxist Progressives parading as Democrats rather than attacking other Republicans, then perhaps we would have a different president and jobs and prosperity instead of Obamacare. The ignorance and stupidity of Mr. Issa's comment is only surpassed by it's lack of any factual content," he said in a prepared statement.
"Fortunately the voters will be picking the next Governor of California, not Washington insiders like Mr. Issa, who in the interest of full disclosure, has endorsed my opponent, the architect of the big Gov't bailout of banks and billionaires known as TARP, a program vehemently opposed by Mr. Issa at the time."
The dustup comes as an increasing number of establishment Republicans coalesce around the moderate Kashkari and distance themselves from Donnelly, a tea party favorite and former minuteman. With his high profile as chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa stands to put the story on the national radar.
In his statement, Issa said he faced similar unfounded charges from an opponent when he ran for Congress — after having gubernatorial aspirations of his own. Issa, an Arab American of Lebanese Christian decent, said he was deeply resentful of the remarks.
"I was offended and outraged that someone who would run for the highest office in our state would resort to such hateful and disgusting rhetoric," he said. "It is crap like this that gives Republicans a bad name and there is no place in the Republican Party or in this race for someone like Tim Donnelly."
Editor's note: This post was updated at 3:15 p.m. to add a comment from Donnelly.
PHOTO: Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/ Carolyn Kaster, File)