Democratic Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly is walking a fine line on immigration.
The red-state Democrat, who is campaigning for re-election in a state President Donald Trump won by almost 20 points in 2016, has broken with other Democratic senators by supporting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and pledging to support Trump’s proposed border wall.
But even as Donnelly publicly signals his willingness to work with Trump on immigration, his campaign has quietly allied with progressive liberal activists who hold a deep opposition to enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.
Donnelly’s political director, Michael Lindburg, spoke at a July 15 rally hosted by a left-wing group, DeportingLove, that compared immigration enforcement to the Holocaust and the Trump administration to Nazis.
At the rally, Lindburg touted Donnelly’s support for the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration amnesty bill, said the senator wished he could attend the left-wing rally, and asked attendees to help elect Democrats in November.
The rally took place on July 15, but DeportingLove only uploaded video of Lindburg’s speech on Aug. 3 — a day after the group announced plans to sue the federal government for asking illegal immigrants to pay income taxes. (RELATED: ‘Abolish ICE’ Vandals Throw Brick Through Window Of GOP Office, Leave Graffiti Message)
Lindburg’s appearance at the left-wing rally, which has not been previously reported, is indicative of the awkward position Donnelly is in as he attempts to remain electable in a red state without alienating his party’s base as it moves further and further left on immigration.
Trump and other Republicans have hammered Donnelly for his support of the Gang of Eight bill and sought to portray him as weak on immigration. Donnelly’s campaign website includes a list of issues he’s running on — but immigration is not among them.
The Donnelly campaign did not return a request for comment.
This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Lindburg’s name
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