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Why Senate hopeful Don Bolduc’s weird litter box claim matters

Don Bolduc appears to struggle to tell the difference between good information and bad. Given the office he’s seeking, that’s a rather important flaw.


The nonsensical claim has spread like a virus through far-right circles: Several schools, far too many prominent conservatives keep insisting, are allowing children who identify as cats to relieve themselves in litter boxes. It’s a ridiculous myth that’s been pushed by Republican gubernatorial and congressional candidates, despite being entirely made up.

Now, as CNN reported, a competitive U.S. Senate candidate is echoing the nonsense.

The Republican Senate nominee in New Hampshire shared at a Thursday event the hoax claim that children are being told they can identify as anthropomorphic cats and use litter boxes in schools. Don Bolduc, a retired Army brigadier general who is challenging Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, made the comments while speaking to supporters in North Hampton, according to audio obtained by CNN’s KFile from an attendee. The claim, which has occasionally been cited by some Republican politicians, has been repeatedly debunked.

“Guess what? We have furries and fuzzies in classrooms,” Bolduc told the crowd. “They lick themselves, they’re cats. When they don’t like something, they hiss — people walk down the hallway and jump out,” he said, as a hissing sound could be heard.

“And get this, get this,” he continued. “They’re putting litter boxes, right? Litter boxes for that. ... These are the same people that are concerned about spreading germs. Yet they let children lick themselves and then touch everything. And they’re starting to lick each other.”

Bolduc concluded, “I wish I was making it up.”

He was, of course, pushing a myth that’s entirely made up. NBC News recently reported:

At least 20 conservative candidates and elected officials have claimed this year that K-12 schools are placing litter boxes on campus or making other accommodations for students who identify as cats, according to an NBC News review of public statements. Every school district that has been named by those 20 politicians said either to NBC News or in public statements that these claims are untrue. There is no evidence that any school has deployed litter boxes for students to use because they identify as cats.

As we recently discussed, it’s worth emphasizing that NBC News did identify one school district that kept cat litter on campuses for student use, but it’s a Colorado district — the same district where the Columbine massacre occurred — that approved the litter as part of “go buckets” to be used in the event of a school shooting.

It’s also worth emphasizing that the entire line of attack is part of an ugly anti-trans push on the right. The litter box myth is dumb, but it’s not benign.

I’m especially interested, however, in the fact that Bolduc is pushing this inanity. The New Hampshire Republican has, after all, spent much of the last two years peddling demonstrably ridiculous conspiracy theories about the 2020 elections, and in a debate last week, the GOP candidate went out of his way to tout discredited nonsense about non-existent fraud — to the point that some in attendance felt the need to laugh at him.

It was at an event just hours after the debate when Bolduc told voters that “they” are putting litter boxes in schools for “furries and fuzzies in classrooms” to use.

The broader significance is the sort of thing that might matter to Granite State voters: The Republican Senate hopeful doesn’t just believe strange things, Bolduc also appears to struggle to tell the difference between good information and bad. Given the powerful office he’s seeking, that’s a rather important flaw.

Is it any wonder that New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, conceded a couple of months ago that Bolduc is “not a serious candidate”?