Keith Chatinover said he was in a political science class at Vermont’s Middlebury College when the Twitter skirmish erupted.
Chatinover, a Dukes County commissioner, said Cruz quoted a Martha’s Vineyard Times article “back when he proposed sending refugees back to the Island through legislation rather than by sending a plane of them unannounced. And at the time, I said we would love to receive these refugees. I stand by that quote.”
Cruz attempted to use that earlier quote as demonstrating Vineyard hypocrisy, after Islanders jumped into action to welcome the 50 migrants and refugees who arrived by plane last Wednesday. Cruz has tweeted about Martha’s Vineyard 62 times since last Wednesday, much of it using misleading information such as the National Guard being used to “deport” them. But, early on, his tweets focused on Chatinover’s comment from 2021.
“Kudos to @GovRonDeSantis for sending illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard,” Cruz tweeted. “When I proposed the same last year, the elected leadership welcomed it: County commissioner Keith Chatinover: “I would LOVE Martha’s Vineyard to become a haven…”
A “crisis”?? Wait…I’m confused.
When I proposed this last year, County commissioner Keith Chatinover said “I would LOVE Martha’s Vineyard to become a HAVEN for new immigrants to this country, but Senator Cruz HAS NO IDEA what he’s talking about regarding a ‘border crisis.’” https://t.co/zdMshoucLu
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) September 15, 2022
The article in question, “Cruz bill seeks immigration port on Martha’s Vineyard,” published in October of 2021, highlights Senator Cruz’s effort to push legislation that would establish new immigrations ports of entry in places like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. At the time U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, D-Bourne, suggested Cruz put forth the idea as a distraction from problems in Texas and that Cruz had a habit of things like that.
“County commissioner Keith Chatinover also voiced opposition to Cruz in a text message to The Times,” the Times article states. ‘I would love Martha’s Vineyard to become a haven for new immigrants to this country, but Senator Cruz has no idea what he’s talking about regarding a ‘border crisis,’ Chatinover told The Times in a text message. ‘Immigrants make our country stronger (as evidenced by immigration from Brazil and other countries to the Vineyard), and he is trying to whip up racial anxieties for political gain, which is essentially the entire GOP platform anyhow.’”
Cruz has latched onto the actions by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sending two plane loads of migrants and refugees to Martha’s Vineyard last Wednesday. He’s been tweeting regularly about it for days and making appearances on right-leaning media.
“When I proposed this last year,” Cruz tweeted, “County commissioner Keith Chatinover said “I would LOVE Martha’s Vineyard to become a HAVEN for new immigrants to this country, but Senator Cruz HAS NO IDEA what he’s talking about regarding a ‘border crisis.’”
“Jeez I really am living rent free in your head huh @tedcruz,” Chatinover responded via Twitter.
— Keith Chatinover (@keithchatinover) September 15, 2022
Chatinover said Fox News and the Daily Mail, among others, reported on the Twitter exchanges between the two politicians. He also said a “cavalcade of MAGA supporters” commented on his tweets, tweeted at him, or direct messaged him.
“I’m wearing the conservative media meltdown as a badge of honor,” Chatinover said. He went on to say, “They seem to think that I have reneged on my commitment to supporting immigration or refugee resettlement and I simply have not. So it’s interesting to see my apparent hypocrisy when I don’t feel like my position has changed at all.”
Recently, State Rep. Dylan Fernandes D-Falmouth, reiterated his disgust for the political and logistical manipulation of migrants during an appearance on Fox News. In a previous interview with The Times in Edgartown, Fernandes called into question the Christianity of anybody who would use human beings as political pawns.
“This is an example of the dishonest, self-righteous idiocy that Martha’s Vineyard produced.
Dems & their useful idiots say it’s ‘dehumanizing’ to send 50 people to a billionaires’ luxury island retreat. That makes no sense. What’s dehumanizing is Biden allowing 4.2 MILLION,” Cruz recently tweeted.
An email to Cruz’s office seeking comment wasn’t immediately returned Monday.