This may be Leonard Lance’s Twinkle, Twinkle moment: a recording of him saying “I tend not to believe the charges” in the confines of a Rutgers College Republican Club meeting discussing allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school.
Democrats have quickly seized on the tape as a campaign issue. Lance’s Democratic opponent, former Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Tom Malinowski, has already begun airing a digital ad attacking Lance’s position, and now the Hunterdon County Democratic Chair, Arlene Quinones Perez, is essentially calling the five-term congressman a Neanderthal.
“If the #MeToo movement has taught us anything it should be to believe women, but instead Congressman Lance has made it clear that his default reaction is to assume that the multiple women accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct are lying,” said Quinones Perez. “People are sick and tired of this kind of backwards thinking and victim shaming that is still running rampant in Lance’s Republican Party.”
Twinkle, Twinkle refers to a 1998 campaign in a district that includes many of the towns Lance now represents. That year, freshman Republican Rep. Michael Pappas was in relatively good shape for re-election before he took to the House floor and sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Kenneth Starr” in support of a special prosecutor investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton. The stunt backfired on Pappas, who lost 50%-47% to a virtually unknown Democrat, Rush Holt.