Political Notebook

Does challenger Elizabeth Heng ‘have Trump’s back,’ as Jim Costa ad claims?

Elizabeth Heng on her support of President Trump

Elizabeth Heng, Republican candidate for Congress, gives reasons for her support of President Trump, and shares thoughts on the Mueller investigation, during an editorial board meeting at the Fresno Bee, Wed. August 29, 2018.
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Elizabeth Heng, Republican candidate for Congress, gives reasons for her support of President Trump, and shares thoughts on the Mueller investigation, during an editorial board meeting at the Fresno Bee, Wed. August 29, 2018.

A recent TV ad circulated by Rep. Jim Costa’s campaign accused Republican challenger Elizabeth Heng of “supporting the president” on hot-button immigration issues such as a border wall and family separations, before summarizing that Heng “will have Donald Trump’s back, not ours.”

However, some of the claims – particularly the final statement – misrepresent Heng’s presidential support statement, which was made during a meeting of The Fresno Bee’s editorial board.

In the meeting, Bee editor Joseph Kieta asked Heng if she supports the president and would vote for him today. She said she would, then praised Trump’s economic policies, which she said brought unemployment to an all-time low.

In her answer, Heng does not mention anything about immigration, which was covered earlier in the meeting.

The advertisement places Heng’s statement, “I support the president,” after claims that Trump “separated immigrant children from their moms and dads,” “wants a border wall that would cost billions without securing our border” and “rolled back protections for Dreamers.”

While Heng said during the editorial board meeting that she does support a border wall, she called the border separations “heartless.” She added that children needed to be protected and reunited with their parents unless there was human trafficking or other criminal activity taking place.

Elizabeth Heng, Republican candidate for Congress, talks about finding solutions regarding immigration reform during an editorial board meeting at the Fresno Bee, Wed. August 29, 2018.

She stopped short of explicitly saying she opposed the separation policy.

However, Heng’s words after the initial support statement directly contradict the final claim made in Costa’s advertisement.

“But I’m my own woman,” Heng said. “I’ll vote with (Trump) when I do, and I won’t when I won’t. If there are policies out there – I’m not like a rubber stamp for Trump.”

She continued: “I don’t care if ideas are Republican ideas or Democrat ideas. I’m just looking for great ideas.

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Rory Appleton: 559-441-6015, @RoryDoesPhonics
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