Kleefisch Calls Democrats ‘Pure Evil’
Former Lt. Governor and Republican candidate for governor appealing to far right?
It was back in March that an aide to former Lt. Governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, made a tasteless comment comparing Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Considering that Kleefisch is running for governor in 2022 and might be the likely Republican nominee, the comment was met with a hailstorm of criticism from Democrats. Yet neither Kleefisch, her campaign group nor her top communications director Alec Zimmerman, who made the Dahmer comment, responded to the criticism. And Zimmerman still holds his position.
On Saturday, Kleefisch unloaded on Democrats, tweeting that “This is pure evil from WI Democrats.”
She linked to a tweet by longtime GOP operative Christian Schneider who referred to Republican state Sen. André Jacque testing positive for COVID-19 and blasted Democratic state Sen. Kelda Roys for “fundraising off of his sickness. Just appalling.”
Precisely how sick Jacque was is still not clear. His statement to the press said that he was “largely asymptomatic.” He was in the hospital with pneumonia, but Jacque said he has had pneumonia previously, implying it might not be because of COVID-19.
Roys’ tweet was a response to a tweet that assailed Jacques for attending a packed legislative committee meeting where he and other Republicans didn’t wear a mask, only to see Jacque test positive two days later. “So predictable,” Roys tweeted. “Selfish, irresponsible, dangerous behavior like THIS is why I fear for my kids when they return to school. We need to require vaccine verification for in person work and school, and universal masking until everyone’s had a chance to be vaccinated.”
Roys then added another tweet inviting people to donate to the Senate Democratic Committee: “Just gonna drop this here, so we can have a nice bundle for whoever runs against him.”
Roys told Urban Milwaukee she wishes the best for Jacque: “I hope he recovers quickly. I don’t want anyone to get sick from COVID — that’s the whole point. Jacque’s reckless actions and the State Senate’s blatant disregard for public health continues to put people needlessly in harms way.”
Whatever the advisability of Roy’s fundraising comment, does a candidate for governor want to tar the opposing party with the “pure evil” label?
“Ms. Kleefisch has again gone to the extreme to appeal to voters,” says PR man and Democratic politico Evan Zeppos. “She would be wise to avoid angry, judgmental hyperbole and remember that if she has any chance of winning the race for governor, she will need more than Republican votes.”
“It’s very hot rhetoric. Hard to top evil. Perhaps the gravitational pull of the Trump silo in the party is just too hard to resist, particularly the need to win a primary that’s less than a year away,” Lee says. “Now, however, she has to be careful that her own fundraising lingo never contradicts the precedent of this message. Otherwise, she’d be accused of a double standard. To inflame the base and raise money, she’s playing with fire.”
Prior to the COVID-19 vaccine being available Kleefisch attended political gatherings of as many as 200 people where no one wore a mask, as Mary Spicuzza has reported. And Kleefisch attended a political rally which featured an activist who claimed the January 6th Capital Riot was “staged,” as Dan Bice reported.
All of which suggests Kleefisch believes she must appeal to the Trump base, despite polls showing broad support in the state for wearing masks and getting vaccinated. She’s also operating in a very different fashion than former two-term Republican Gov. Scott Walker. “He always took care to stay on the right side of civility and courtesy,” Lee says.
Urban Milwaukee requested a comment from Zimmerman and the 1848 Project, the political launching pad Kleefisch created for her gubernatorial campaign, and has not received a reply.
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