Michigan GOP Condemns Candidate's Comment to 'Lie Back and Enjoy' Rape

Republican officials in Michigan are condemning one of their own after a candidate for the state House made a controversial comment about sexual assault.

Robert "RJ" Regan is under fire for what he said during a livestream on March 6. When asked about how sexual assault is perceived as inevitable and unpreventable, he said: "Well if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it."

The comment has received bipartisan condemnation. Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser released a statement saying that Regan should have known better than to comment like that on such a sensitive topic.

"We are better than this as a party and I absolutely expect better than this of our candidates," he wrote.

The Associated Press reported that Michigan Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth condemned Regan's comments as well. Newsweek has reached out to Wentworth to obtain his full statement.

Other Republicans in the state have made their ire with Regan's comments known.

"As a Christian, a public servant and a father of two daughters, I find Robert Regan's comments about sexual assault to be revolting and immoral, and I strongly denounce them," state Senator Mark Huizenga said.

Regan is running to represent the 8th Congressional District. Its former representative, Kent County Chairman Rob VerHeulen, also condemned the comment.

"As a former representative of this district, I am appalled to hear the comments from Mr. Regan. These comments are offensive, dangerous and unbecoming of any candidate for public office," VerHeulen said. "The Kent County Republican Party stands with the Michigan Republican Party and I believe Mr. Regan owes an apology immediately."

Despite the criticism, no state lawmakers have called for Regan to withdraw from the race.

Democrats also spoke out against Regan, saying that his comments make him unfit for office.

"As a woman, human and public servant, I am stunned that a person who wishes to hold public office would hold such beliefs," Democratic candidate Carol Glanville said. "I did not think I would need to clearly state on the campaign trail that rape is never inevitable, acceptable or warranted, and is the worst type of personal violation anyone could ever experience."

In a statement to Newsweek, the YWCA of West Central Michigan condemned the comment.

"When you minimize or politicize rape and use victims' experiences as weapons in an argument to bolster your opinion, you're keeping the focus off the real problem," the organization said. "Clearly, putting victims in the middle of an argument about elections is at worst wrong and at best misguided."

This was not the first time that Regan has been embroiled in controversy surrounding his remarks.

The Times of Israel reported that he has shared anti-semitic posts on social media. Regan is accused of sharing a message on Facebook referring to feminism as "a Jewish program to degrade and subjugate white men." He also reportedly posted about George Soros, whom he called a "Jewish communist investor" over his financing of COVID-19 vaccines.

Newsweek reached out to Regan for comment.

Update: 3/8/22, 5:29 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information.

Michigan GOP
Republican officials in Michigan are condemning one of their own after a candidate's comment about sexual assault. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)