A GOP congressman from South Carolina failed to read the room when he carved time out of a campaign event Thursday to joke about the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“Did y’all hear the latest late-breaking news on the Kavanaugh hearings?” Republican Rep. Ralph Norman said during an election debate Thursday. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out saying she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”
His comments were in apparent reference to the drama currently gripping Washington, where the Supreme Court nominee has been accused by Christine Blasey Ford, a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California, of attempted rape at a party in 1982 when they were both teens. Both Kavanaugh and the White House have vehemently denied the allegations.
“This is a completely false allegation,” Kavanaugh said in a statement released by the White House on Monday. “I have never done anything like what the accuser describes — to her or to anyone. Because this never happened, I had no idea who was making this accusation until she identified herself yesterday. I am willing to talk to the Senate Judiciary Committee in any way the Committee deems appropriate to refute this false allegation, from 36 years ago, and defend my integrity.”
Norman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News.
But his remarks Thursday elicited some nervous laughter and applause from the audience at the Kiwanis Club of Rock Hill, the Post and Courier reported, before the comment quickly became part of the debate.
“My opponent apparently thinks sexual assault is a joke. It is not,” Norman's opponent, Democrat Archie Parnell said. “But I guess that’s the best we can expect from someone who pulled a loaded gun on his own constituents.”
In April, Norman took out a loaded gun and waved it around during a meeting with constituents in an apparent attempt to prove that guns are only dangerous when bad people are behind the trigger.
Cover image: UNITED STATES - JUNE 13: Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Wednesday morning, June 13, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)