Rep. Paul Ryan and Roger Rivard on Aug. 9, 2012 (RivardForAssembly.com)
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan has withdrawn his endorsement of a Wisconsin state lawmaker who has come under fire for controversial comments he made about rape.
Late last year, while discussing an alleged rape at a high school in his district, Rep. Roger Rivard told a local newspaper that his father taught him "some girls rape easy."
"State Rep. Rivard's comments are outrageous and offensive," Kevin Seifert, the manager of Ryan's congressional campaign, said in a statement on Thursday. "Congressman Ryan believes there is no place in our discourse for rhetoric such as this. Congressman Ryan cannot support Mr. Rivard or his indefensible comments."
On Wednesday, Rivard told Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel that his comments to the Chetek Alert newspaper in December were taken out of context:
"[My father] also told me one thing, 'If you do [have premarital sex], just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry.' Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she's not going to say, 'Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.' All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she's underage. And he just said, 'Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,' he said, 'they rape so easy.'
"What the whole genesis of it was, it was advice to me, telling me, 'If you're going to go down that road, you may have consensual sex that night and then the next morning it may be rape.' So the way he said it was, 'Just remember, Roger, some girls, they rape so easy. It may be rape the next morning.'
"So it's been kind of taken out of context."
Several hours later, Rivard issued a separate statement to the paper:
Sexual assault is a crime that unfortunately is misunderstood and my comments have the potential to be misunderstood as well. Rape is a horrible act of violence. Sexual assault unfortunately often goes unreported to police. I have four daughters and three granddaughters and I understand the importance of making sure that awareness of this crime is taken very seriously.
The statement was reminiscent of Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's apology in the wake of the controversy sparked by his "legitimate rape" comments.
Rivard, a freshman state representative running for re-election against Democrat Stephen Smith, was endorsed by Ryan on Aug. 9, two days before GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney selected Ryan to be his running mate.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is still listed, along with Sen. Ron Johnson, on a "fresh list of endorsements" on Rivard's website.
Smith quickly denounced Rivard's remarks.
"I'm offended to think that my sister or my daughters would be thought of in that manner," Smith told the Journal Sentinel. "I feel Roger is out of touch with the majority of voters and his views are extreme."
- Politics & Government
- Paul Ryan
- Roger Rivard