The North Carolina Republican Party appears to have taken President Donald Trump‘s recent mocking of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a Mississippi night rally as a call-to-arms.
According to The News & Observer, Cabarrus County GOP Chairman Lanny Lancaster shared a meme purporting to contain an image of Ford with the caption, “This is the alleged sexual assault victim. Wow.” Lancaster’s post was a re-share of a post by Joseph T. Mannarino, which contained the caption, “This was Christine Blasey Ford in 1982.”
The woman in the photo is not Ford. The photo in question has been shared as a meme for the better part of a decade on the internet. After the meme generated some amount of local controversy in North Carolina, Ford’s own lawyers confirmed to the News & Observer that the woman in the picture is not Ford.
That didn’t stop Lancaster from repeating the falsehood. In comments to the News & Observer, he said:
The media wants you to think she was a beautiful young lady who was on her way home from the tennis courts…I just wanted you to see the real person. I wanted people to see that this is really her.
To date, Ford has not mentioned anything involving a tennis court regarding the incident in which she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And, as noted, the woman in the photograph is not Ford.
Lancaster continued, insisting that posting the photo was fair game because he doesn’t believe her story.
“I didn’t say anything,” he said. “I just said this is her picture. Basically, the media is distorting the facts on this lady. Everything she’s said is made up. She has no evidence whatsoever. I support that theory.”
North Carolina Democrats assailed the post in an attempt to reap political dividends for at least one congressional candidate. An email sent by Frank McNeill, who is challenging Republican incumbent Richard Hudson in the Tar Heel State’s eighth congressional district, contains a screen-capture of the Facebook post and reads:
It never stops. The Republicans’ assault on the safety and dignity of American women continues to grow more ugly and personal. Now, Republican attacks on Dr. Blasey-Ford are coming from inside our own 8th District. Cabarrus County Republican Chair, Lanny Lancaster, posted his nastiness on Facebook just last night!
Lancaster shot back at McNeill’s criticism of his post–saying McNeill was the one at fault.
“Why would a potential congressman be concerned with what a Republican chairman thinks?” Lancaster asked. “He appears to be the type of person that will be a troublemaker. To me, him looking at my Facebook page is childish on his behalf. Is he going to be a childish congressman?”
Marc O’Hara, McNeill’s campaign manager, took Lancaster to task in response. He said:
This is a transparent attempt to shame a woman and objectify Dr. Blasey Ford again. As a father of a daughter and a grandfather of three, I honestly don’t know how Mr. Lancaster will be able to look his daughter in the eye after this nonsense.
O’Hara might consider extending his disappointment a bit further. As noted by Asheville’s ABC affiliate, thousands of conservatives have been sharing the meme in an attempt to suggest Dr. Ford was too unattractive to have ever been the victim of sexual assault.
[image via Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images]
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