A white Republican congressional candidate on Thursday openly questioned her opponent's Native American heritage on Fox News, claiming she was not “raised on a reservation.”
During a segment on Fox & Friends, host Ainsley Earhardt asked New Mexico candidate Janice Arnold-Jones about her Democratic opponent Deb Haaland, who, if elected, as Earhardt pointed out, would be the first female Native American to serve in Congress.
"That's what they say, yes," Arnold-Jones responded with a laugh, seemingly stunning the Fox hosts.
When a visibly confused Earhardt host asked what she meant, Arnold-Jones acknowledged her opponent’s Laguna Pueblo lineage but then claimed that the voters are being misled, because Haaland is just like her.
“I’m saying there’s no doubt that her lineage is Laguna, but she is a military brat just like I am,” Arnold-Jones said. “I think it evokes images that she was raised on a reservation—she belongs to a Pueblo.”
The Republican candidate has made immigration one of her key campaign issues, originally coming on the segment to speak about her hardline stance regarding the state’s southern border with Mexico.
But instead of focusing on that platform, Arnold-Jones doubled down on her attacks to her opposition, adding that Haaland’s “open borders” stance conflicts with her Native American heritage.
“That confuses me, because, here she’s advocating for open borders and the people most vulnerable are our sovereign tribes and Pueblos where there is little law enforcement and they would be the most vulnerable," the former state lawmaker said.
The race between Arnold Jones and Haaland is considered one of the top targets in the 2018 midterm election. The National Republican Congressional Committee called this seat—previously held by Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham who announced herself as a gubernatorial candidate earlier this year—one of the top 36 seats that will decide who controls the House.