Rep. Adam B. Schiff accused his Republican challenger Saturday of trafficking in anti-Semitic smears for promoting a bogus claim about the Democratic congressman and George Soros.
Mr. Schiff called out congressional hopeful Eric Early on Twitter and accused him of using his account on the platform to promote a conspiracy theory involving the incumbent.
The longtime representative for California’s 28th Congressional District also connected his rival’s conduct to another Republican running for office next month: President Trump.
Mr. Schiff was reacting to a post shared on Twitter in Mr. Early’s name that claimed the congressman is related to Mr. Soros, a Jewish billionaire known for backing liberal causes.
The social media post shared by the Early account included an image suggesting the son of Mr. Soros is married to the sister of Mr. Schiff, who was raised in a Jewish family.
Mr. Schiff does not have a sister and is not related to Mr. Soros, the congressman clarified on Twitter, adding claims to the contrary are a “well-circulated anti-Semitic lie.”
“Trump may lose in 17 days. But the Republican Party’s willingness to traffic in bigotry and hate has caused lasting damage,” Mr. Schiff added.
Reached for comment, Mr. Early denied sharing the image, which could not be found on his Twitter feed as of later Saturday, while deriding Mr. Schiff and Mr. Soros nonetheless.
In a statement sent to The Washington Times, Mr. Early said Mr. Soros is “flat-out scum” and that Mr. Schiff “kneels to evil” and “is one of Soros’ many tools.”
Twitter users can share, or retweet, a post, then later reverse course without leaving an obvious trace. The Washington Times has seen evidence indicating that happened here.
“We are glad that Mr. Early deleted his retweet of an anti-Semitic meme, the likes of which should never have shared by a candidate for elected office in the first place,” Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Mr. Schiff’s reelection campaign, told The Times later Saturday. “It’s really disappointing that Mr. Early is now denying what is undeniable instead of owning his decision to bring such a hateful and bigoted tone to this race.”
Twitter did not immediately respond to an inquiry regarding Mr. Early’s recent social media activity.
Mr. Schiff, the chairman of the powerful House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has represented California in the House of Representatives since 2001. His challenger described him to The Times as a “lying criminal” and accused him of treason.
He is likely to be reelected next month by voters in the predominantly Democratic district, which includes parts of the Los Angeles region including West Hollywood and Burbank.