Rep. Steve Chabot defends a despicable vote with an even more despicable explanation.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) expects voters to understand his vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2013 because he thought protecting immigrants from domestic violence was a bridge too far.

At two recent debates with Democratic challenger Aftab Pureval, Chabot offered increasingly despicable explanations for his vote against VAWA, which funds critical services like rape crisis centers, community violence prevention programs, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

At their first debate, Chabot said he voted against the bill to combat domestic violence because “the Senate added a whole bunch of illegal immigrants to be covered.”

And at their second debate last week, Chabot repeated this explanation, this time slurring undocumented immigrants as “illegals.”

Chabot, like the majority of his fellow Republicans in the House, objected to the idea of protecting all victims of domestic violence. While the act first passed in 1994 had been regularly reauthorized without issue, in 2013, Republicans like Chabot complained that the new version would extend protections to LGBTQ women, undocumented immigrants, and Native Americans.

Chabot’s hostility toward undocumented immigrants isn’t all that surprising, since he has shown himself to be a Trump clone in every other way. Chabot supports Trump policies that have hurt the residents of his district, and has voted with Trump 96 percent of the time.

What is surprising is that Chabot expects the decent people of Ohio’s 1st Congressional District to excuse his vote against VAWA because it would have helped too many women.