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SC’s Nancy Mace weaponized her status as a rape victim in defense of Donald Trump | Opinion

I’m now convinced no one in Nancy Mace’s life loves her enough to tell her the truth, that she should stop selling her soul for a man as unworthy as Donald Trump. Or, she’s refusing to listen to people being honest with her.

That truth became most apparent over the weekend.

Issac Bailey
Issac Bailey

Mace was asked the kind of question every Washington politician supporting Trump should be asked.

“Judges and two separate juries have found him (Trump) liable for rape and for defaming the victim of that rape. How do you square your endorsement of Donald Trump with the testimony we just saw?” Host George Stephanopoulos asked Mace on ABC News’ “This Week.”

He was referring to Mace’s powerful testimony arguing for rape exceptions in a proposed South Carolina “heart beat bill.” Stephanopoulos called her testimony “courageous.” Mace revealed she had been raped at the age of 16, and about the shame she has carried for three decades. It was a courageous stance, a Republican woman legislator standing up for rape survivors in a General Assembly that has one of the worst women’s rights records in the country. Mace showed the mettle she used to become the first woman to graduate from The Citadel.

It’s something for which she should forever be proud. That’s why it’s sad to see Mace go from using her inspiring story to help other victims to weaponizing it in service of a rapist. Mace didn’t simply dodge the question, she used her status as a rape victim to deflect and defend Trump.

“I live with shame and you’re asking me a question about my political choices to shame me as a rape victim, and I find it disgusting,” Mace falsely claimed Stephanopoulos was doing.

She said it was a judgment in a civil case rather than a criminal court, as though that distinction made what Trump was found to have done any less ugly. “It was sexual abuse, it wasn’t actually rape,” Mace said.

She then repeatedly shamed E. Jean Carroll, the woman who won an $83 million settlement against Trump for that rape — which might get paid by Trump’s political donors — for joking about what she was going to do with the money from Trump.

“You don’t find it offensive that Donald Trump has been found liable for rape?” Stephanopoulos pressed. (After the ruling, the judge in the Carroll case clarified that what the jury found was in fact rape.)

“I find it offensive as a rape victim that you’re trying to shame me for my political choices,” Mace returned.

There may have been a time in which Mace had high aspirations to genuinely do good in the world. I don’t doubt that’s why she got into politics after surviving the hell of The Citadel as a young woman. That’s why for the life of me I can’t understand why Mace and many Republicans have decided to throw in their lot with a man like Trump.

Trump is on video bragging about his penchant for casually sexually assaulting women in just the way he was found liable to have done to Carroll. That’s not the only thing he has a penchant for. It’s fraud. It’s bigotry and racism. It’s coddling up to dictators. It’s mocking those with disabilities.

In defense of a man like that, Mace deployed the worst kind of identity politics. Sen. Tim Scott has done something similar when asked why he supports a racist.

Maybe Mace has determined this is the route she has to take to remain in good standing with the “family values” party. It seems she believes she is required to take this route to have a chance at a vibrant political future rather than the route she seemed to initially want to take, that of a firebrand willing to stand up for what’s right even if it meant criticizing fellow Republicans.

She doesn’t realize — or care — that abandoning her principles and integrity for a man who has neither is too high a price to pay no matter the potential political reward at the end of her journey.

Issac Bailey is a Carolinas opinion writer for McClatchy.