Rep. Eric Swalwell’s swipe at House Republicans over the deadly California church shooting appears to have backfired.
The California Democrat was buffeted on social media with reminders about his past connection to an alleged Chinese Communist Party spy after he linked the Orange County gunman to Republicans in a late Sunday tweet, before the suspect’s name had been released.
“Sorry @housegop that the parishioners hog-tied your boy,” tweeted Mr. Swalwell, adding “#SorryNotSorry.”
The next day, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said that the suspect was 68-year-old David Wenwei Chou, a U.S. citizen who immigrated from China and allegedly targeted the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church out of antipathy toward Taiwan.
One parishioner was killed and five were wounded in the Sunday attack at the Laguna Woods church before congregants managed to subdue and hog-tie the suspect with an extension cord.
As commentators were quick to point out, Mr. Swalwell was aided in his political rise by Fang Fang, or Christine Fang, a suspected Chinese operative who did fundraising for his congressional campaign.
“The suspect is a man from China who the FBI has opened a hate crime investigation into because he allegedly targeted the parishioners based on their Taiwanese identity,” tweeted Portland journalist Andy Ngo. “Given your past personal connections to a Chinese Communist spy, it’s more likely the suspect was ‘your boy.’”
Mr. Swalwell has said he cut off all contact with her after being alerted by the FBI in 2015. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing. House Republicans sought unsuccessfully to remove him from the House Intelligence Committee after the story broke in December 2020.
Sorry @housegop that the parishioners hog-tied your boy. #SorryNotSorry https://t.co/y71ywlLn6N— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) May 16, 2022
Other comments included, “You might want to ask Fang Fang about this,” “Sounds like he was your boy, champ,” “You let a Chinese spy hogtie you,” and “Well that tweet didn’t age well.”
“WTF is wrong with you, Eric? Does that Chinese spy still have some leverage on you?” tweeted Denver KOA AM/FM radio host Ross Kaminsky.
Mr. Swalwell has left up the tweet. The Washington Times has reached out to his office for comment.
The suspect in the church attack faces one count of felony murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Monday that the crime is being investigated as “a politically motivated hate incident, a grievance that this individual had between himself and the Taiwanese community at large.”
• Valerie Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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