Nancy Mace bashes GOP Primary opponent for ‘illegal alien’ apology

Just days after calling on her opponent to exit the race, U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace is now taking advantage of a verbal slip-up that, if you happened to look down to check a text, you might have missed.

At issue is a brief comment made by Catherine Templeton at a Berkeley County Republican Party forum on March 9 in which she started to say the term “illegal alien,” but stopped herself, corrected her term to “illegal immigrant” and then said “sorry.”

A few people in the audience could be heard lamenting that they are, indeed, illegal aliens. One person whistled as if to indicate that the comment was a slip up, not for using a politically incorrect term for undocumented immigrants, but for apologizing for it.

That Mace has not let the two-second commentary go is proof positive of how important a driving force the immigration issue is among conservative voters.

“Talking to voters throughout South Carolina, the biggest issue facing the United States is illegal immigration and the southern border and the influx or invasion of over 8 million illegals, illegal aliens, illegal immigrants,” Mace wrote in a statement.

“I know my opponent, by the way, doesn’t like to call them illegal aliens but that is exactly what they are. She apologized for calling illegals ‘illegal aliens’ which is just like something Joe Biden would do.”

She pointed to a comment President Biden made during his recent State of the Union address in which he referred to the man accused of murdering Laken Riley in Georgia as an “illegal.” Biden later said he should have instead used the word “undocumented.”

“I’m not going to apologize, like my opponent and Joe Biden did, for calling those who cross into our country illegally, exactly what they are,” Mace said.

While conservative voters in South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, located in the Charleston area, likely agree on usage of the term “illegal” when referring to undocumented immigrants, Mace’s critique does lack some context.

First, Templeton continued using the term “illegal,” she just used it as an adjective to describe an immigrant, not an alien. Second, her entire line of discussion at the forum during the exchange in question, as well as at other points in the forum, was a critique on the Biden administration’s border policies and her vow to vote for policies that shut down immigration at the southern border and otherwise make immigration more difficult.

During the forum, Templeton called for establishing as law the Remain in Mexico policy established under former President Donald Trump.

“I have two 18-year-olds, a son and a daughter, and the fact that there’s more fentanyl coming across the border into America to kill you, and your grandchild, and your child, and your sister and your aunt, every American citizen,” Templeton said during the forum.

“I am resolute. … I am going to go and make sure that we take care of this problem with President Trump,” she added.

Templeton appeared at the forum with fellow Republican Bill Young, a retired Marine who is also seeking to oust Mace from the seat.

Though she often brought up votes Mace has taken on which she disagrees, Templeton did vow to support the eventual GOP nominee, even if it’s not her.

Mace’s latest attack on Templeton comes after she called for the former head of South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control to withdraw from the race. She made that ask after Trump offered his “complete and total endorsement.”

While Templeton didn’t enter the race until early February, she had been considering it since August of last year. She said her decision was sealed after Mace joined a group of GOP members of Congress in ousting former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

In her campaign announcement she played the “adult in the room card,” a reference to the Trump politics that have dominated much of Washington since Trump’s emergence onto the political scene in 2015.

“It is our responsibility to send an adult that can get results to Washington,” she said at the time, according to local reporting.

Templeton ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 2018.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. In early 2022, she left the business to serve as Communications Director for St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch. After leaving the administration, Janelle briefly worked as a communications consultant for candidates, businesses and non-profits, before accepting her position as Publisher for Southeast Politics, a homecoming of sorts to her Florida Politics roots, where she served as a reporter and editor for several years. Janelle has also held roles covering the intersection of politics and business for the Tampa Bay Business Journal and general assignment news with an emphasis on social justice and climate change for WMNF Community Radio, where she also hosted a political call-in show under several names, including Last Call, Midpoint and The Scoop. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]

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