State Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Republican who’s trying to unseat Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, has launched an ad that is turning her into everybody’s No. 1 enemy — even the state GOP has called her out for the blatantly bigoted video.
In a campaign ad titled, “Thank You, Bruce Rauner,” the video shows an actor portraying a transgender woman, a woman wearing a pink pussy hat, a woman pretending to be a member of the teachers’ union, and several others all portraying prejudiced, offensive, and racist versions of people who are sarcastically giving thanks for a series of bills signed into law by Rauner.
The actor playing the transgender woman in particular struck a nerve with transgender attorney Joanie Rae Wimmer, who happened to serve Ives with a subpoena at her home three years ago.
In the campaign ad, the transgender character thanks the governor “for signing legislation that lets me use the girls’ bathroom,” although the bill she refers to, House Bill 1785, has nothing to do with restrooms. Instead, the law makes it easier for transgender individuals to change the gender listed on their birth certificates.
But perhaps what’s worse is that Ives admitted that the character in the video was actually based on Wimmer.
When the Republican was told that the depiction of a transgender woman in her ad was offensive, Ives said that the actor is “exactly what a transgender man typically looks like,” adding that she’s had “them show up at my door,” referring to Wimmer.
“First of all, I’m not a trans man, I’m a trans woman,” Wimmer fired back.
“I don’t think I look like the guy in the ad, but even if she does think that, that is not the point. I think she’s a dangerous person — I think she’s only a short way away from the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany. … The only difference is that instead of going after Jews, she’s going after transgender people like me, and immigrants, and black people.”
The state’s Republican Party chair agreed.
“There is no place in the Illinois Republican Party for rhetoric that attacks our fellow Illinoisans based on their race, gender or humanity,” Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said in a statement. “Rep. Ives’ campaign ad does not reflect who we are as the Party of Lincoln and as proud residents of our great and diverse state.”
Other GOP members took to Twitter to show their discontent with the campaign.
Erika Harold's Statement Regarding Ives Campaign Ad pic.twitter.com/ux4sowykLu— Erika Harold (@ErikaHarold) February 3, 2018
This is the @JeanneIves and @DanProft we have known for years. There is no room in the Republican Party for racist, bigoted, homophobic candidates like her. We are better than @JeanneIves #twill https://t.co/f7Sdq2g4Us— Pat Brady (@pat_brady) February 2, 2018
The TV ad from Rep. Ives is shameful. We should never attack fellow Illinoisans based on their gender or race. This ad does not represent the Republican Party and has no place in our political discourse.#twill #ilgov2018— Grant Wehrli (@GrantWehrli) February 3, 2018
Asserting that Ives should delete the ad and issue an apology, Schneider also said that the video is offensive to the “Illinoisans who were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division.”
While it’s shameful that a politician would use such divisive tactics to hurt people for being different just to score some political points, it’s gratifying to see people from her own party come out against her deplorable actions.
While Republicans have a lot of work to do to pluck out the bad apples in their party — starting with President Donald Trump — we can appreciate and applaud those who stood in principle against such a blatantly racist campaign.