Bill Schuette, the GOP candidate in Michigan's gubernatorial race, released a new attack ad featuring footage of his Democratic opponent testifying about her sexual assault.
As Republicans brace for a potential disaster in November, candidates in hotly contested races are resorting to increasingly desperate ploys to dissuade voters from supporting their Democratic opponents.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Michigan, where Republican Bill Schuette just sunk to a new low with his latest attack ad against Democratic candidate Gretchen Whitmer.
The ad, in which Schuette describes his opponent as the “most left-wing ticket in Michigan history,” uses inflammatory rhetoric to accuse Whitmer of supporting terrorists and being “an extreme risk we can’t take,” among other things.
But even worse than the content of the ad is the context of the footage displayed in the background.
As reported by the Detroit Metro Times, the images of Whitmer that appear in the ad were taken from footage of a Michigan Senate hearing during which the Democratic gubernatorial candidate testified about being sexually assaulted.
The hearing was about Michigan’s so-called “rape insurance” bill, and Whitmer decided to share her own story of being raped as a college student to “give a face to victims of sexual assault,” the Metro Times reported.
“It’s something that I’ve hidden for a long time, but I think you need to see the face of the women that you are impacting by this vote today,” she said during her testimony.
Five years later, Schuette took images of Whitmer testifying and turned them into an attack ad.
Gretchen Whitmer and Garlin Gilchrist are the most extreme Democrat candidates in Michigan history—opposing immigration enforcement, bashing Israel, supporting Hamas. They are an extreme risk we can’t take. pic.twitter.com/jXYkTlSxPI
— Bill Schuette (@SchuetteOnDuty) September 7, 2018
According to the Metro Times, the ad was paid for by Bill Schuette for Governor, described as “the official organization behind Schuette’s campaign for governor.”
Zach Pohl, communications director for Whitmer’s campaign, confirmed to the newspaper that the footage featured in the ad is from the day Whitmer testified about being sexually assaulted.
As reprehensible as the ad is, it’s not exactly surprising that a Republican candidate would feel comfortable displaying such callousness about sexual assault.
In the past year, Republicans have lined up behind accused child molester Roy Moore in Alabama, accepted endorsements from accused rapists, defended Trump attack dog Rep. Jim Jordan in the face of mounting allegations that he helped cover up a sexual abuse scandal, and discounted the accusations against Jordan as mere “rumors.”
For the GOP, discrediting and demeaning sexual assault victims is an unwritten party mandate. After all, if they started taking sexual assault seriously, they might actually have to pay attention to the long list of accusations facing the nation’s top Republican.