Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., implied that politicians like incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk may be responsible for radicalization of young Muslims. Kirk's campaign called Duckworth's comments "dangerously foolish."
In a session among Democratic senate candidates held by the Chicago Tribune to determine who the paper would endorse in the Democratic race to run against Kirk, Duckworth was asked about ensuring refugees would not pose a security risk.
"In the case of those two young people, the Iraq refugees in Texas, they were actually, radicalized here in the United States," Duckworth said. "They came as teenagers and they were radicalized because they'd been on those talk hotlines with ISIS. Because they see people like Mark Kirk demonizing Muslim and Islam and wanting to shut down our borders. That's how we turn people against us."
Immediately though, one of the moderators asked, "You think they were radicalized by U.S. politicians?"
"No, I think they were radicalized by ISIS, who are attempting to get U.S. politicians and the United States to react in fear," Duckworth responded.
When asked again about her saying politicians like Kirk were responsible for radicalization, she said, "Donald Trump is out there wanting to shut down all Muslims from entering the country. We cannot go back against our values."
After Duckworth's remarks, Kirk's campaign tweeted a response, saying Duckworth "says common sense, bipartisan security measures to protect our homeland lead to radicalization."
Later, Kirk campaign manager Kevin Artl resonded in a statement: “Rep. Duckworth's comments today were naïve and dangerously foolish. Her claim today at the Chicago Tribune editorial board meeting that ISIS is motivated by the words of U.S. lawmakers, rather than a deep ideological commitment to waging war on the West to expand their caliphate, shows a shocking lack of understanding of the jihadists' true motivations." Kirk is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the Senate this cycle and Duckworth has been endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the race and is considered the front-runner. Her opponents in the Democratic primary, Chicago Urban League President and CEO Andrea Zopp and State Sen. Napoleon Harris, also participated.