A Republican candidate for a seat in Michigan’s House of Representatives is being condemned by both parties after making an analogy about the 2020 presidential election involving rape and his daughters.
Robert Regan, a favorite to win Michigan’s District 74 seat, made the comment at a livestreamed panel Sunday in response to an assertion that it was “too late” to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
“That’s kind of like having three daughters. I tell my daughters if rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it,” Regan said. “That’s not how we roll, that’s not how we won this election.”
Video of the panel, hosted by the Rescue Michigan Coalition, remained available on the group’s Facebook page as of Wednesday.
He went on to compare his win in the Republican primary race with the biblical tale of David and Goliath, noting that his opponents had more financial support.
Amber Harris, a Republican activist and fellow panelist, told Regan during the stream that his analogy was a “shameful comment.”
“Advice to your daughters: Don’t do that,” Harris said. “Fight all the time.”
Regan did not immediately return a call from NBC News requesting comment Wednesday.
Michigan Freedom Fund, a nonprofit conservative organization, released a statement calling Regan’s remarks “despicable & disqualifying.”
“I’m the mom of four young girls. Every day I teach them to stand up for themselves, to know what they’re worth, and to fight back against creeps like Regan,” said Michigan Freedom Fund Executive Director Tori Sachs. “RJ Regan doesn’t belong anywhere near the state Capitol and that is why we endorsed and supported his opponent.”
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser and Kent GOP Chairman Rob VerHeulen addressed “comments” made by Regan in a joint statement Tuesday, but did not specify exact remarks.
“Mr. Regan’s history of foolish, egregious and offensive comments, including his most recent one are simply beyond the pale,” Weiser said. “We are better than this as a party and I absolutely expect better than this of our candidates.”
State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky, a Democrat representing District 19 and chair of Michigan Progressive Women’s Caucus, condemned Regan’s remarks on Twitter Monday.
“Having been in a situation where rape was inevitable, I can promise this man that there is nothing enjoyable about it,” Pohutsky said. “This man is disgusting and I’m hoping HD 74 doesn’t send him to Lansing. I don’t normally say this about people I could end up working with, but he’s horrid.”
Regan told MLive on Monday that he doesn’t want to equate a “stolen election” with rape and that his point was more about fighting back “because nobody likes to be taken advantage of.”
“I’m getting pushback right now because I’m the only one saying we need to decertify the 2020 election. Everyone on that panel said it’s inevitable, let it die, it’s a dead issue, focus on 2022 moving forward,” Regan said. “And I’m like, ‘No, it’s not inevitable. You would never tell a daughter if it’s inevitable you should lie back and enjoy it, ever.’ That’s the context of that story.”
Donald Trump has falsely blamed his loss to President Joe Biden to voter fraud despite no evidence to support such allegations. Former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump appointee, told The Associated Press in December 2020 that the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud.
Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News. Pronouns: she/her.