GOP Lawmaker Tells Incarcerated Addict Life Is Hard: ‘I’ve Got $5 Million of Negative Ads Coming at Me’

Republican U.S. Rep. Dave Brat hit the campaign trail Thursday by visiting a Virginia county jail to speak with a group of incarcerated addicts. It didn't go well.

One woman explained to the Virginia Tea Party Congressman she feels she's getting her life back together, but her real fear is what happens when she gets out of jail. Ben Paviour, politics reporter for NPR station WCVE recorded the audio below and reported the story.

Congressman Brat, who President Trump just endorsed, appeared to be hurrying her up, repeatedly interrupting her by saying "right," as she told him about her life.

The unnamed woman told Brat she's worried that everything that she's accomplished will just "go down the drain."

"I have a goal and I have a fear because, going to school, going to my meetings," she said, "is too much for me."

She talked about not being able to drive because she apparently no longer has a license. And she told Rep. Brat that when she gets released she'll be able to stay in a recovery house, but only for 90 days, because of lack of funding.

"Now I'm starting to think, once my 90 days are up, what am I going to do?" she said. "I have a fear of that also."

The sheriff appeared to make a pitch to Brat about getting more funding for the recovery house so addicts can have more time to adjust once they are released from jail.

Rep. Brat didn't bite, didn't offer any hope, but he did commiserate, by explaining that life is hard for everyone and they're wrong if they think the life of a Congressman is easy.

“You think you’re having a hard time? I’ve got $5 million worth of negative ads coming at me,” Brat told the woman. “How do you think I’m feeling? Nothing’s easy. For anybody.”

“You think, I’m a congressman, ‘Oh, life’s easy, this guy’s off having steaks every day,’” he said. “Baloney. I’ve got a daughter, she’s got to deal with that crap on TV every day,” he said of the attack ads facing him.

“So it’s tough,” Brat added. “No one out there’s got some easy life. Right?”


Later in the clip, perhaps realizing how offensive his remarks were, Brat acknowledged, “you’ve got it harder.”

“I’m not dismissing that. You’ve got some fierce, real anxiety with coming up with a job or whatever. And what you’ve got to find is a support system.”

That support system, Brat suggested, should include the Bible.

Rep. Brat's Democratic opponent posted this tweet condemning his remarks:

Rep. Brat's campaign refused to respond to the reporter who wrote the story, but did manage to link to his audio and send out a faith-focused press release.

Hat tip: The Daily Beast

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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