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ICYMI: Detroit Free Press, “Michigan GOP doesn’t disavow candidate who suggested rape victims ‘lie back and enjoy it’”

Press Releases

WASHINGTON — The Michigan Republican Party and Chairman Ron Weiser have so far failed to disavow Republican state House candidate Robert “RJ” Regan for his history of misogynistic comments, including his recent suggestion that rape victims “lie back and enjoy it” as he advocated for decertification of the 2020 presidential election. These dehumanizing comments underscore Regan’s reprehensible views, including pushing conspiracy theories about Jewish people and 9/11 and supporting Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, which the Republican Party has also failed to condemn, showing that he is unfit for public office. 

“RJ Regan’s comments and views are vile and until the Michigan GOP show they’re willing to take action to ensure he never holds public office, their words are meaningless,” said DLCC vice president of communications Gabrielle Chew. “Just a few days ago, Chairman Weiser praised Regan’s ‘commitment to Republican values’ despite his widely-known love of conspiracy theories. The Michigan Republican Party and the Republican State Leadership Committee must immediately and unequivocally disavow RJ Regan’s candidacy. By failing to do so, they are solidifying that Regan’s misogynistic and dehumanizing statements are not an anomaly of the Michigan GOP, but emblematic of the entire party.” 

The Detroit Free Press: Michigan GOP doesn’t disavow candidate who suggested rape victims ‘lie back and enjoy it’

Michigan state and local Republican leaders are condemning unspecified comments made by a GOP state House candidate who recently suggested rape victims “lie back and enjoy it,” after he spent months parroting pandemic conspiracy theories and sharing anti-Semitic rhetoric.  However, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser and others affiliated with the party are not calling on Robert “RJ” Regan to withdraw from a special state House election, a race where he’s a heavy favorite.

The party also did not respond to Free Press questions sent Monday as to whether GOP leaders would help Regan campaign and fundraise ahead of the May 3 special election for the 74th House seat, a West Michigan district near Grand Rapids. 

“Mr. Regan’s history of foolish, egregious and offensive comments, including his most recent one are simply beyond the pale,” Weiser said in a statement Tuesday. “We are better than this as a party and I absolutely expect better than this of our candidates.” Kent County Republican Party Chairman Rob VerHeulen echoed Weiser’s statement, saying Regan owes voters an apology… 

Many of Regan’s misogynistic, conspiratorial and otherwise offensive comments were posted to social media or made well before he won that election.  Almost immediately after the primary, his views on Ukraine and the pandemic garnered local and state media attention.

But it was Regan’s most recent comments about rape that spurred substantial pushback. 

He made the statement Sunday during a virtual panel, in the context of whether Republicans should continue to argue the 2020 election was stolen.  “Having three daughters, and I tell my daughters, ‘well if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it so.’ That’s not how we roll, that’s not how I won this election. We go right at it,” Regan said, according to a video of the panel posted on Rumble… 

Regan’s social media presence shows a sustained commitment to spreading false information about the pandemic, Russia and any number of other conspiracies.  

He recently posted on Twitter about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sharing that Putin is eradicating “massive corruption, bio labs and money laundering” in the country. The theory is wrong but gaining traction among some supporters of QAnon, a wide-ranging conspiratorial movement that’s embraced broad, baseless theories about everything from sex trafficking to Trump seizing power at any given moment.  

Regan also suggested part of the law enforcement response to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol was “staged,” that COVID-19 vaccines don’t work and posted an image from a website that frequently included anti-Semitic rhetoric.