South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman: “Did y’all hear the latest late-breaking news on the Kavanaugh hearings? Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.” https://t.co/qfEneGbxxZ pic.twitter.com/p51z9UZkEt
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 20, 2018
Some people aren’t taking the sexual assault allegations against embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh very seriously. In fact, some prominent Republicans are outright mocking the charges.
On Thursday afternoon, while speaking in front of the Kiwanis Club of Rock Hill, South Carolina, GOP Representative Ralph Norman introduced himself by saying that he was almost forced to cancel his appearance due to the unfolding Supreme Court controversy. Then Norman told the following joke:
Did y’all hear this latest late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings? Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, Norman’s remark elicited “some scattered nervous laughter and applause” from the crowd who had assembled to watch Norman debate his midterm challenger for South Carolina’s 5th congressional district, Democratic Party nominee Archie Parnell.
While the audience reaction was muted but mixed, Palmetto State Democrats were decidedly critical and loud.
South Carolina Democratic Party chair Trav Robertson tweeted, “Ralph Norman just proved he may be rich but he doesn’t have any class…inappropriate doesn’t describe his remarks.”
Jaime Harrison, Robertson’s predecessor in the state party apparatus and currently an associate chairman for the Democratic National Committee, echoed the criticism. Harrison also tweeted, “So now sexual assault is a punchline for a stupid joke! Disgusting but coming from Norman… expected!”
The Kiwanis were none too pleased about the joke as well. After the debate, the Rock Hill chapter noted:
Kiwanis clubs exist to help children. One way to help is to understand candidates’ positions on relevant issues; many Kiwanis clubs hold open forums like this for political candidates. Statements such as the one from Rep. Ralph Norman do not reflect The Objects of Kiwanis.
And though he didn’t attack his opponent on stage for the joke, Parnell later released a statement of his own. It reads, “My opponent apparently thinks sexual assault is a joke. It is not. But I guess that’s the best we can expect from someone who pulled a loaded fun on his own constituents.”
Parnell was apparently referencing an incident wherein Norman once removed his own loaded Smith & Wesson pistol and laid it on a table in front of voters in a heavily-criticized attempt to argue that guns are only dangerous in the hands of criminals.
South Carolina GOP chair Drew McKissick shot back at Parnell in a statement, referencing the Democratic candidate’s admitted history of spousal abuse. He said, “The joke is Democrats running the same old playbook of last minute attacks against conservatives, while at the same time supporting a candidate for Congress that actually did commit assault against a woman.”
[image via screengrab]