Theis’ GroomerGate: “It was such a vile thing for a mother to say about another mother” – The Livingston

2022-04-24 07:31:26 By : Ms. Rayna Wang

What did Republican state Sen. Lana Theis of Brighton think she’d accomplish with her latest fundraising piece in which she outrageously insinuated Democratic state Sen. Mallory McMorrow of Royal Oak wants to “groom” and “sexualize kindergartners”?

Theis is currently facing what could be a tough primary challenge, and maybe she thought taking a walk on the QAnon side would garner her more votes or donations; if that’s so, how cynical does that make her? Maybe she truly believes that Democrats are blood-sucking pedophiles, and if that’s so, how nutty does that make her?

Why would Theis insinuate such wild and outrageous things about one particular colleague in a fundraising email? Does Theis really believe her fellow state senator sexually abuses children?

I have so many questions.

The one thing I know for sure is that Theis accomplished something epic, something truly unexpected and remarkable for a red, red Republican: Theis single-handedly created a new political superstar in McMorrow, whose speech on the floor of the Michigan legislature pushing back against Theis’ bizarre and unfounded insinuations has gone so viral that political heavy hitters on both sides of the aisle — like Bill Kristol, Neal Katyal, and Hillary Clinton — retweeted it.

That speech did two significant things: it elevated McMorrow and it made Theis look small. And as of this writing it’s been viewed MORE THAN 7 MILLION TIMES in less than a day.

Now, I don’t know Theis very well, but I’ve had a couple nice conversations with her at events, and I’ve thanked her for the legislation she shepherded through that helps make victims of domestic violence and sexual assault safer; that’s precisely the kind of work I expect my legislators to do, no matter their party.

Then, up pops GroomerGate. For those of you who don’t frequent Twitter or follow Michigan’s legislature closely, this is the back story:

Theis delivered an invocation in the state Senate last week in which she said this: “Dear Lord, across the country we’re seeing in the news that our children are under attack. That there are forces that desire things for them other than what their parents would have them see and hear and know. Dear Lord, I pray for Your guidance in this chamber to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Three legislators — who interpreted her words as attacks on the LGBTQ+ community — walked out in protest. One of those legislators walking out was McMorrow.

You can — and should — read the entire invocation story as reported by Michigan Advance by clicking here.

Then, this week, Theis sent out the now-infamous fundraising email in which she insinuates that McMorrow is a “groomer”: “These are the people we are up against,” she wrote in the email. “Progressive social media trolls like Senator Mallory McMorrow (D-Snowflake) who are outraged they can’t teach can’t groom and sexualize kindergarteners or that 8-year-olds are responsible for slavery.” (Please don’t email me about the bad grammar. It’s verbatim from the email.)

To which McMorrow called bullshit — my words, not hers — loud and clear.

If you aren’t among the MORE THAN 7 MILLION people who’ve watched the video of McMorrow’s speech, you can see it here:

Senator Lana Theis accused me by name of grooming and sexualizing children in an attempt to marginalize me for standing up against her marginalizing the LGBTQ community…in a fundraising email, for herself. Hate wins when people like me stand by and let it happen. I won’t.

It’s hard to understand how someone who worked to protect victims of abuse could insinuate without evidence that anyone — let alone a fellow state senator and a fellow mother, for chrissakes — is a groomer. Theis actually insinuated that McMorrow wants to sexually abuse children.

What Theis wrote is gobsmackingly wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s a terrible, no good, horrible thing to say.

This whole thing feels like the desperate move of someone who isn’t sure she can win. It’s signaling that Theis isn’t confident she can make it out of the August primary against a Trump-endorsed wing nut, and, if she does, that she believes she will have a tough time against Democrat Jordan Genso, who announced his candidacy last week.

It also signals that Theis thinks going all Q is the way to raise funds, which calls into question her confidence in her performance in the Senate. Shouldn’t her accomplishments and service during the years she’s spent in Lansing be the best things on which to campaign? If Theis has done good things for her district and Michigan, why is she choosing to ignore them and instead pull on her crazy culture-war pants?

Can you understand my confusion? And can you feel my deep disappointment?

McMorrow said it well: “It was such a vile thing for a mother to say about another mother.”

If you have any doubts, imagine for just a moment that you’re McMorrow; then tell me how it feels to have a colleague raise funds by insinuating you want to SEXUALLY ABUSE CHILDREN.

My God! Can you even imagine such a thing?

As Theis’ constituent — and as a mother — I ask what Theis thinks her words and her vile insinuations are teaching our children, the ones for whom she prayed on the floor of the state Senate. And then I suggest that she owes McMorrow — heck, make that all of us — a great big apology.

Journalist Maria Stuart worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. These days, she runs The Livingston Post.

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