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Republican makes 'disgusting' joke about Abraham Lincoln groping Ruth Bader Ginsburg at debate

Chris Riotta

A South Carolina Republican has been branded "disgusting" after he kicked-off an election debate with a joke that mocked sexual assault allegations brought against Brett Kavanaugh.

“Did y’all hear this latest late-breaking news on the Kavanaugh hearings?” Ralph Norman asked the crowd at a Thursday night debate in Rock Hill, South Carolina. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out saying she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

The controversial remarks arrived as the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to hear allegations Christine Blasey Ford has brought against Mr Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee she says sexually assaulted her while the two were teenagers.

The South Carolina Democratic Party rebuked the comments while slamming the congressman, who is running for re-election against Archie Parnell, a Democrat he defeated in a close race during last year’s special elections.

In a tweet, the state Democratic Party’s chairman Trav Robertson said the joke showed Mr Norman “doesn’t have any class”.

"Inappropriate doesn’t describe his remarks," he wrote.

The party’s official Twitter account also wrote, "This is disgusting. What sexist is writing your jokes, @RalphNorman?"

 

Ms Ford has laid out several requirements in order to provide her public testimony to the committee next week, including appearing before the Senate no sooner than Thursday and demanding they subpoena another man she has named as being involved in the assault, Mark Judge.

It will be the first time senators and the public will have the chance to hear from Ms Ford after she wrote a letter to her California representatives earlier this year when Mr Kavanaugh’s name was first added to a list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

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Meanwhile, Republicans on the committee have pushed for her to speak earlier than Thursday, and have withheld renewing an FBI investigation into Mr Kavanaugh’s background.

The Supreme Court nominee has denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement that he was not at the party in question and did not know who Ms Ford was before her allegations against him were made public earlier this month.

Mr Norman wasn’t the only lawmaker to have made controversial statements criticising Ms Ford and her allegations against Mr Kavanaugh.

"I’d hate to have someone ask me what I did 35 years ago," said Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, who is 85-years-old.

"There’s no question in my mind she was coached by special interest groups,” Orrin Hatch told the Deseret News in an interview. "Her story’s too contrived. It’s so slick it doesn’t compute."