On Friday, in the wake of news that President Trump planned to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy left following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week, a Democrat operative used the opportunity to speculate on the way Barrett’s two adopted Haitian children were adopted — this prompted a barrage of criticism from conservatives who were outraged at the operative for seeming to use Barrett’s children against her.
Dana Houle, who served as Chief of Staff for Democratic New Hampshire Rep. Paul Hodes and campaign manager for Hodes and for Democratic Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes, according to Boston Review, tweeted, “I would love to know which adoption agency Amy Coney Barrett & her husband used to adopt the two children they brought here from Haiti.”
“So, here’s a Q: does the press even investigate details of Barrett’s adoptions from Haiti? Some adoptions from Haiti were legit,” Houle continued. “Many were sketchy as hell. And if press learned they were unethical & maybe illegal adoptions, would they report it? Or not bc it involves her children. Would it matter if her kids were scooped up by ultra-religious Americans, or Americans weren’t scrupulous intermediaries & the kids were taken when there was family in Haiti? I dunno. I think it does, but maybe it doesn’t, or shouldn’t.”
He added, “I hope the adoptions were fully legit & ethical. I hope if press investigates that’s whay [sic] find. But if the adoptions were sketchy, reporting it would really screw w the lives of her 2 adopted kids (& maybe the 5 bio kids too).”
Reaction came fast and furious: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded, “Dem operative’s opening salvo at Judge Barrett: attacking her young children. This is twisted. Leave the kids alone.”
Dem operative’s opening salvo at Judge Barrett: attacking her young children.
This is twisted. Leave the kids alone. pic.twitter.com/LHE5aOVVi6
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 25, 2020
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway ripped Houle, writing:
“Nice children you’ve got. Shame if something happened to them.” You know what you’re doing is disgusting. You know it’s indefensible and wrong. Stop doing it immediately. Have the barest amount of decency as a human and stop going after children for political reasons.
"Nice children you've got. Shame if something happened to them." You know what you're doing is disgusting. You know it's indefensible and wrong. Stop doing it immediately. Have the barest amount of decency as a human and stop going after children for political reasons.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) September 25, 2020
Columnist Bethany Mandel, who has four children of her own: “This is f***ing evil as hell.”
This is fucking evil as hell
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) September 25, 2020
Barrett has seven children, two of whom were adopted from Haiti.
The South Bend Tribune reported:
In a 2019 discussion before the Notre Dame Club of Washington, D.C., Barrett said she and Jesse decided to adopt from Haiti because it was an impoverished country and because it was close enough to be able to visit as the kids became older. She and her husband debated over the years whether one should stay home with the children — she described plenty of “soul-searching and anxiety about balancing kids and work — but Jesse’s aunt has helped watch the kids for years, and Jesse took on more home duties after she became a judge. “What greater thing can you do than raise children?” she said. “That’s where you have your greatest impact on the world.[”]