WASHINGTON — "Racist."
That's how Rep. Ted Lieu, a California Democrat of Asian descent, described the Rep. Chris Collins ad that's flooded Buffalo's television airwaves lately.
And Lieu, an outspoken liberal with 45 times more Twitter followers than Collins, was just getting started.
"Dear @RepChrisCollins: Take your racist ad and shove it," Lieu, who was born in Taiwan, said on Twitter late Tuesday afternoon. "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
It's rare for lawmakers to say such things to each other, even in cyberspace. On the floor of the House, lawmakers who detest each other routinely and traditionally refer to each other as "my friend."
But it's clear from Lieu's tweet he has little interest in befriending Collins, a Clarence Republican under indictment on federal insider trading charges who faces a reelection challenge from Democrat Nate McMurray, the Grand Island town supervisor.
"For folks who get angry after watching the racist ad, go to @Nate_McMurray website at http://votemcmurray.com and help Nate," Lieu tweeted.
Lieu's tweet referred to Collins' first TV ad of his recently revived campaign, which began airing in Buffalo Friday.
The ad featured a video of McMurray speaking Korean — with captions that appear to be subtitles saying the Democratic candidate worked to ship U.S. jobs overseas when he worked as a lawyer in Korea, when that's not what McMurray was saying at all. The Buffalo News, WGRZ and WIVB labeled the ad misleading.
Two Asian-American groups, as well as McMurray, earlier this week dismissed the ad as xenophobic at best. And McMurray, who met his wife while working in South Korea, said it was "traumatic" to watch the ad with his 10-year-old son.
The Collins campaign remained unapologetic, though.
Asked for a response to Lieu's tweet, Collins campaign spokeswoman Natalie Baldassarre said: "Another day, another tired and false attack from anti-Trump, liberal Democrats."
She said Lieu's attack came straight from the playbook of Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
"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."