The official White House Twitter account took an abnormally partisan turn on Monday, targeting Democratic senators over their recent statements about US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The account, which on Monday evening had more than 17 million followers, directly tweeted at Sens. Kamala Harris, D-California, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.
Warren called for abolishing ICE in a Facebook post on Saturday. Although Harris has not called for ending ICE altogether, she has demanded changes to the agency.
“.@SenWarren, why are you supporting criminals moving weapons, drugs, and victims across our nation’s borders? You must not know what ICE really does,” the first tweet from the White House said.
The account later tweeted at Harris: “.@SenKamalaHarris, why are you supporting the animals of MS-13? You must not know what ICE really does.”
The two tweets also linked to a news release from the ICE website titled “ICE removes Salvadoran MS-13 affiliate, Irish national with manslaughter conviction,” and an informational page on the Border Enforcement Security Task Force.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
A source familiar with the team that handles the White House account said that no more than five people have access to it and noted that they have gone to great lengths to keep this account from being political.
Harris replied to the White House tweet, noting the recent controversial administration policy that resulted in the separation of children from their parents after they entered the United States illegally.
“As a career prosecutor, I actually went after gangs and transnational criminal organizations. That’s being a leader on public safety. What is not, is ripping babies from their mothers,” she wrote on Twitter.
Despite President Donald Trump’s somewhat bombastic Twitter presence, the White House has a generally mild tone on the platform.
The administration has faced intense scrutiny after over the separation of undocumented parents and children. Trump went on to sign an executive order aimed at keeping families together at the border, but some Democrats went further and have begun demanding the dismantling of ICE.