It Was a Terrible Weekend for 2 Female GOP “Stars”


South Carolina Representative Nancy Mace first came to national attention in 2019, when she opposed a state abortion ban that lacked exceptions for rape and incest, revealing that she had been raped at 16. “For some of us who have been raped, it can take 25 years to get up the courage and talk about being a victim of rape,” said Mace, then a state legislator. “My mother and my best friend in high school were the only two people who knew.”

But there she was on Sunday morning, attacking ABC’s This Week host George Stephanoupolos for asking her how, given her own experience, she could support disgraced former president Donald Trump, found liable in a civil trial for sexually assaulting writer E. Jean Carroll in a department store dressing room in the late 1990s, and for defaming her after she revealed the attack (almost 25 years later, as it happens).

Another Republican leader, Alabama Senator Katie Britt, had to be grateful to Mace for deflecting at least a little bit of the spotlight away from her shameful State of the Union rebuttal Thursday night. Britt’s bizarre “trad wife” address, from her roomy but weirdly empty kitchen, was widely panned in real time. But her troubles got worse on Friday, when independent journalist Jonathan Katz revealed that Brett used a story to blast President Joe Biden’s southern border policies that grossly misrepresented the details of a sex trafficking scandal.

“When I first took office, I traveled to the Del Rio sector of Texas, where I spoke to a woman who shared her story with me. She had been sex trafficked by the cartels starting at age 12,” adding, “President Biden’s border crisis is a disgrace. It’s despicable. And it’s almost entirely preventable.”

As Katz reported, the woman in question, Karla Jacinto, was abused within Mexico, not in Texas, during the presidency of George W. Bush, not Biden.

On Sunday, CNN reached Jacinto and confirmed Katz’s reporting.

Jacinto said she met [Britt] at an event at the southern border with other government officials and anti-human-trafficking activists, instead of one-on-one as Britt stated. She also said that she was never trafficked in the United States, as Britt appeared to suggest. She was not trafficked by Mexican drug cartels, but by a pimp who operated as part of a family that entrapped vulnerable girls to force them into prostitution.…

Jacinto said she was kept in captivity from 2004 to 2008, when President George W, Bush was in office.

The advocate for sex trafficking victims blasted Britt’s use of her story as “not fair.”

Amazingly, Britt tried to hang on to her tale on Sunday, insisting that she never actually said the woman was trafficked under Biden and claiming that the liberal media is ignoring the wider problem of trafficking by drug cartels. “To me it is disgusting to try to silence the voice of someone who is trying to tell what it’s like to be sex trafficked.”

Mace was just as brazen. “As a rape victim who’s been shamed for years now because of her rape, you’re trying to shame me again,” she told Stephanoupolos. When the host calmly pushed back, she came at him again: “I’m not going to sit here on your show and be asked a question meant to shame me about another potential rape victim. I’m not going to do that.” She said Trump was found guilty in a civil, not criminal, trial, and criticized Carroll for joking about what she would do with the $91 million Trump must pay her in damages.

Stephanoupolos tried again: “You don’t find it offensive that Donald Trump has been found liable for rape?”

“I find it offensive that as a rape victim you’re trying to shame me for my political choices and I’ve said again, repeatedly, E. Jean Carroll has made a mockery out of rape by joking about it.”

Then she took to the site formerly known as Twitter to lambaste the ABC host for working for Bill Clinton during the former president’s own sex scandal (actually, he’d left the White House two years earlier). Her 20-plus Tweet tirade just lent credibility to reports that Mace is a volatile personality who’s had among the highest staff turnover in Congress (her former chief of staff is mounting a primary campaign against her).

(E. Jean Carroll won the weekend with a gracious Tweet about the mess. “I wish Representative @RepNancyMace well. And I salute all survivors for their strength, endurance, and holding on to their sanity.”)

The Britt-Mace mess showed just how hard it is to be a woman of integrity in today’s GOP. The party is run by a man found liable of sexual assault (and credibly abused of sexual abuse by at least a dozen other women). The three judges Trump appointed to the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and left women at the mercy of red-state legislatures, writing laws so byzantine that even when they include exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother, they’re written so poorly that doctors are afraid to perform the procedure anyway. Mace’s 2019 bravery was wasted, and so she’s caved: She still occasionally makes noise about rape exemptions to abortion bans, but she’s cast her lot with a party that couldn’t care less.

Britt is arguably worse. She offered no evidence to blame Biden for an increase in sex trafficking (and I wouldn’t trust her numbers anyway; experts say there is conflicting data about whether the problem is genuinely on the rise). In fact, her bizarre rant reminded me a little of the Trump-adjacent Q-Anon theory that Democrats are pedophiles and sex traffickers.

She got the SOTU rebuttal nod to help the GOP with their women-voter problems. She sat in that lovely kitchen—“women love kitchens!”—in a fetching green dress with a crucifix at her neck.

But sometimes it seemed like she was going for male voters, too: On Saturday Night Live, Scarlett Johannson hilariously captured her weird tonal shifts between school-girl and coquette. “Now, I’m gonna get weirdly seductive for no apparent reason,” she spoofed.

But the worst of it was Britt’s big Biden lie. Even some Republicans mocked her SOTU response, but what did they really expect, pushing a first-term, little-known senator into a spotlight that’s mainly been a place for rising GOP stars to fail? The meltdowns of Britt and Mace almost made me miss Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the presidential primary race last week. At least she was (eventually) able to criticize Trump over the verdict in the Carroll trial. Sadly, I won’t be surprised if she endorses him anyway. It’s Trump’s party, and women who sign up for it are signing up for four more years of misogyny, cruel abortion bans, and regular mockery of sexual assault victims (he did it to Carroll again this weekend). I doubt that the performances of Mace and Britt pulled any suburban swing voters behind Trump.

#Terrible #Weekend #Female #GOP #Stars

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