Michigan GOP House candidate defends 'rape' comment: 'A distraction'

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — Robert Regan, a Republican candidate for the Michigan House, stood by his comparison of rape to the 2020 election Wednesday while blasting GOP leaders, suggesting his opponents want to teach kids how to use condoms and joking about Stevie Wonder's vision.

"Let's be honest," Regan said at one point. "This is a distraction. It's a bunch of BS. And the voters deserve better than what our media and the Republican establishment has been giving us."

Regan, the Republican nominee in a Grand Rapids-area special election, was interviewed on the "Your Defending Fathers" show Wednesday, three days after appearing on a conservative group's live stream and using rape to illustrate his argument for pushing to decertify Michigan's November 2020 election results.

"Having three daughters, I tell my daughters, well, 'If rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.'" Regan said during the Sunday interview. "That's not how we roll. That's not how I won this election. We go right at it."

Robert Regan is a Republican candidate for state House District 74 in Kent County.

The comment drew widespread criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser issued a statement Tuesday, saying the party is "better than this" and he expects better from candidates.

On Wednesday, Regan, a self-described entrepreneur from Grand Rapids, fired back at Weiser and Michigan GOP Co-Chairwoman Meshawn Maddock. Regan said they didn't call him before publicly criticizing him.

Meanwhile, Regan said, Republican leaders had ignored allegations of wrongdoing against former House Speaker Lee Chatfield. In January, Chatfield's sister-in-law, Rebekah, accused him of sexually abusing her beginning when she was 15. The former GOP lawmaker has denied wrongdoing.

"None of these establishment cronies ... are saying anything about what happened with Lee Chatfield," Regan said, mentioning Weiser, Maddock and House Speaker Jason Wentworth, R-Farwell, by name.

Regan, who unsuccessfully ran for the House three times previously, won a special primary election last week to be the GOP nominee in the heavily Republican 74th District. He'll face Democrat Carol Glanville in the special general election on May 3.

Regan told "Your Defending Fathers" the point of his rape comment was to demonstrate the grassroots of the GOP is "sick and tired of the establishment telling us, 'You just have to sit there and take it.'"

"Just lie there and enjoy it," Regan said. "This is the way this is going to be. And I used the example: 'That would be like if I told my three daughters that rape is inevitable and you should just lie back and enjoy it.'"

"That's not what we do," he continued. "Even in the face of very difficult odds, you go after it. That is what our founding fathers did."

Regan said the "real issues" voters care about are gas prices, critical race theory and inflation.

"Our kids can't read, Randy, and they want to teach them how to be woke and how to put on a condom," Regan told the show's host, Randy Bishop.

In the past 10 days, Regan has touted his belief the 2020 presidential election should be decertified, called COVID-19 "nonsense" and refused to say whether he condemns Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Republican Donald Trump lost Michigan's election to Democrat Joe Biden by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points despite continued and unproven claims of fraud from Trump and his supporters.

But Regan said Wednesday that blind musician "Steve Wonder could tell" signatures for absentee ballots didn't match voters' signatures in election records.

Regan is running to fill a seat that became vacant after former Rep. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, was elected to the state Senate.


Staff Writer Beth LeBlanc contributed.