The South Carolina Statehouse is seen on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Columbia, S.C. 
Jeffrey Collins/AP Photo

Congressman picks today to tell a bad joke about groping, Supreme Court

There’s never a good time for jokes about sexual misconduct toward women, but given the ongoing controversy over Brett Kavanaugh, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) showed especially poor judgment today.

Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., reportedly mocked the sexual assault allegation dogging Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday, joking that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently accused Abraham Lincoln groped her.

“Did y’all hear this latest late-breaking news from the Kavanaugh hearings?” Norman said during his opening remarks of a debate against his Democratic challenger Thursday in South Carolina, according to The Post and Courier. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out that she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

In one dumb joke, the Republican congressman managed to make fun of a woman’s age and make light of sexual assault simultaneously.

“Ralph Norman just proved he may be rich but he doesn’t have any class,” Trav Robertson, the state’s Democratic Party chairman, responded.

It’s tempting to think Norman’s weak attempt at humor may undermine his re-election campaign, but his Democratic rival probably isn’t in a position to capitalize.

Norman, who won a surprisingly competitive congressional special election last summer – South Carolina’s 5th congressional district was represented by White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney – will face Archie Parnell in November, setting up a rematch of their June 2017 contest.

The difference is, Parnell’s candidacy has lost its party backing following reports that he physically abused his ex-wife in the 1970s.

In other words, local voters have a choice this year between a candidate with a history of domestic abuse and a congressman who thinks it’s funny to joke about women being sexually assaulted.