A conservative columnist for the New York Times is under fire from progressives over an op-ed slamming the 2020 Democratic candidates for embracing pro-illegal immigrant policies, with one critic going so far as to call him a "white nationalist."
In a scathing piece published on Friday, Bret Stephens argued that voters see Democrats as the "party that makes too many Americans feel like strangers in their own country" and that "puts more of its faith and invests most of its efforts" in illegal immigrants instead of American citizens.
"They speak Spanish. We don’t. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn’t. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes. They willingly got themselves into debt. We’re asked to write it off," Stephens elaborated. "They don’t pay the premiums for private health insurance. We’re supposed to give up ours in exchange for some V.A.-type nightmare. They didn’t start enterprises that create employment and drive innovation. We’re expected to join the candidates in demonizing the job-creators, breaking up their businesses and taxing them to the hilt."
The Never-Trump conservative opinion writer specifically called out the ten candidates on Thursday's debate who all raised their hands vowing that their healthcare plans would cover illegal immigrants in the U.S. as well as the candidates who favored the decriminalization of border crossings on Wednesday's debate. Stephens mocked Spanish-speaking candidates Beto O'Rourke and Cory Booker as "pandering" "gringos." He also expressed fiscal concerns over the Democrats who call for Medicare-For-All, free college education, and eliminating student debt.
"The Democratic Party we saw this week did even less to appeal beyond its base than the president. And at least his message is that he’s on their — make that our — side," Stephens concluded.
His column sparked a firestorm of criticism on social media. Broadcast journalist Soledad O'Brien ripped Stephens as a "full on bigot." Former CNN host Reza Aslan tweeted that the NYT columnist "jumped out of the white nationalist closet."
Stephens was also called out by one of his own colleagues, NYT contributing op-ed writer Wajahat Ali.
"Some of us work very hard to try to become columnists at prestigious papers. Some of us, especially women & people of color, are very talented, don't put out racist content or write about the 'disease of the Arab mind' but we'll never get the chance. Then there's Bret Stephens..." Ali wrote. "I for one appreciate Bret Stephens piece on 'ordinary' Americans. He says out loud all their fears and 'economic' anxieties that people of color have called out forever. No subtlety. Now I hope our white allies will stop calling us crazy and angry and hysterical."
Stephens responded to his critics on Twitter, saying O'Brien and Aslan "unwittingly demonstrate a style of moral bullying and progressive demagoguery that turns people off and plays into Trump's hands."
"In case you missed my last 1000 columns or so, I want nothing more than for Trump to lose," Stephen wrote. "But right now I'd bet he's going to win because the left is driving away the voters Democrats need to win."
The New York Times did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.