Some news which broke recently courtesy of excellent reporting by the Daily Beast is a reminder that efforts to destroy political adversaries with false accusations isn’t a problem only on the Democratic side of the aisle.
In this case, we are met with allegations that two so-called conservative activists, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, were allegedly working on a plot to frame openly gay Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg for sexual assault. The Daily Beast reports in great detail what can only be described as a Keystone Kops effort to recruit a gay Republican to falsely accuse Mr. Buttigieg of sexual assault.
Conservatives, including myself, vocally condemned the Democrats’ efforts during his Senate confirmation hearings to virtually assassinate now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh with some questionable and other clearly false sexual assault allegations. Learning of an allegedly similar scheme hatched by so-called conservatives to harm a Democrat was sickening.
Heartening, however, was the fact that it was a GOPer who was initially approached by the alleged plotters who worked with the Daily Beast to expose the scheme. And in the aftermath of the reports, conservatives across the board condemned the effort.
Details in the Daily Beast report include an audio tape recording of an attempt to convince another prospect to be the accuser, promising him fame and wealth if he joined the plot. A different man, Hunter Kelly, allegedly agreed to be the ‘victim,’ only to finally panic at the idea, renege, and publicly expose the alleged scheme.
So ridiculous were the claims at the start, Johnny Phillips, an openly gay conservative radio talk show host at KABC Radio in Los Angeles, responded on Twitter, “The only way this allegation could have been any shadier is if they also claimed that there was a love child.”
Opting to concoct a false accusation to destroy someone is the opposite of the honesty and integrity the conservative ideal demands.
Mssrs. Wohl and Burkman do not deny working with Mr. Kelly, but they claim he approached them. They deny all allegations made in the Daily Beast reporting and as Fox News reported, “Burkman released a statement on Tuesday ‘vehemently denying the claims’ he was involved in fabricating the story, claiming he was approached by Kelly.”
This isn’t the first time, however, Mr. Wohl and Mr. Burkman were involved in a plan that seemed better suited for an episode of “Get Smart.” Fox News reports, “In October, Burkman and Wohl were earlier accused of being behind a plot to pay women to make false accusations of sexual harassment against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The special counsel’s office said they referred the report about Burkman to the FBI.” Fox notes that matter has been referred to the FBI for investigation.
In today’s world, it’s rather easy to find out every little thing about someone’s life. Campaigns engage in “opposition research” for a reason. If you don’t like Mr. Buttigieg there’s probably things to discover and complain about. Opting to concoct a false accusation to destroy someone is the opposite of the honesty and integrity the conservative ideal demands.
For his part, Mr. Buttigieg handled the brief scandal perfectly. Asked about it while campaigning in New York, he said, ““I'm sure it's not the first time somebody is going to make something up about me,” Buttigieg told reporters. “It's not going to throw us. Politics can be ugly sometimes but you have to face that when you're in presidential politics,” reported Fox News.
In the meantime, the Democratic Party has issued no apology or mea culpa in their obscene attempt to virtually assassinate Justice Kavanaugh. But Americans have grown to not expect much on the issues of personal responsibility and unity from that group of coastal and beltway political opportunists.
The response, however, by the conservative base condemning the apparent charade targeting Mr. Buttigieg was heartening, and reminds us that another part of the conservative ideal is to always fight back against smear merchants (and the fake news they rely on) and standing up for what’s right for everyone, no matter their party or political point of view.