October 10, 2018 News & Press Releases

Dave Brat misleadingly accuses his Democratic opponent of ‘shouting him down’ (Business Insider)

by Eliza Relman, Buisness Insider

A Republican candidate accuses his Democratic opponent of 'shouting him down' at a town hall - but she did nothing of the sort

By Eliza Relman, Buisness Insider

  • Rep. Dave Brat, a Virginia Republican running for reelection, accused his Democratic opponent Abigail Spanberger of "shouting him down" with a "liberal mob" at a town hall. 
  • But a video that Brat is promoting of Spanberger shows her simply nodding her head and calling out responses to questions he asked of the audience at the gathering. 
  • This comes as Republicans — led by the president — are characterizing Democratic protesters as a dangerous, "angry mob." 

In a new attack ad, Rep. Dave Brat, a Virginia Republican running for reelection, accused his Democratic opponent Abigail Spanberger of joining a "mob" in "shouting him down" at a town hall, even though Spanberger is shown simply nodding, shaking her head, and calling out responses to his questions in the video.

On Tuesday, Brat tweeted out his new campaign ad, which includes footage of Spanberger, a former CIA officer, attending one of his town halls in which he invited the audience to answer a series of questions about taxation and government regulation.

"How many people want to see individual income tax rate reductions for you in this room? How many people want to see tax increases to fund more programs? How many people want to see corporate tax rate reductions?" Brat asks his audience at the gathering, to which they respond with claps and shouts of "yes" and "no."

The ad singles out Spanberger, who is sitting in the front row nodding, shaking her head, clapping, and calling out answers along with the audience.

Brat ends the town hall by asserting that he is trying to promote a discourse with his constituents.

"Everybody asks for town halls so we can have a civil discourse, and so that's what we're trying to do," he says.

He tweeted alongside the video, "What are we supposed to believe? Abigail Spanberger or our lying eyes? Here's Spanberger caught on tape at a Dave Brat town hall shouting him down and calling for tax increases."

Democrats pushed back on the ad, accusing Republicans of characterizing peaceful dissent as some kind of uncivil intimidation tactic.

"This is what Republicans call a 'mob' and 'shouting him down.' Do not let them win this ridiculous reframing of citizens holding their elected officials accountable," tweeted Christina Reynolds, a communications official at the Democratic PAC Emily's List.

Spanberger also responded to the ad, quote tweeting an op-ed in The Week calling Brat's attack "silly."

This comes as the president and the GOP have accused Democratic protesters of being paid to demonstrate, and are characterizing them as an out-of-control "angry left-wing mob."

Republicans were particularly critical of people — many of them women and sexual assault survivors — who demonstrated against Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.

"I'm glad those who tried to overturn the rule of law and replace it with mob rule lost," Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said on Fox News Sunday following Kavanaugh's confirmation vote.