John Gibbs, a Republican running for a House seat in Michigan in November, has been condemned online after he was revealed to have complained about women having the right to vote while a student at Stanford.
On Wednesday, the 43-year-old was accused of saying that Americans had “suffered” since women achieved the right to vote in 1920. He apparently made the remark during part of a “think tank” he established while a student at Stanford University in the early 2000s, CNN first reported.
Writing for a group called the “Society for the Critique of Feminism”, Mr Gibbs argued that women did not “posess the characteristics necessary to govern,” and said men were smarter than women because they applied “logic” over “emotion”, according to archieved version of the website.
He added that the United States has “suffered” as a result of women’s suffrage, which he blamed on government overspending and a larger state.
“It goes without saying that larger government is clearly counter to the basic principle of our free and democratic society, which is that the smallest government is the best government,” Mr Gibbs wrote on the page, which includes his name and contact info.
He continued: “Thus, we conclude that increasing the size and scope of government is unequivocally bad. And since women’s suffrage has caused this to occur on a larger scale than any other cause in history, we conclude that the United States has suffered as a result of women’s suffrage.”
Anne Marie Schieber, a spokesperson for Mr Gibbs’ campaign, told CNN on Wednesday that he did believe women should have a right to vote, in contrast to his earlier views. He is running for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district.
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) September 21, 2022
“John made the site to provoke the left on campus and to draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists,” Ms Schieber was reported as saying. “It was nothing more than a college kid being over the top,”.
She continued: “Of course, John does not believe that women shouldn’t vote or shouldn’t work, and his mother worked for thirty-three years for the Michigan Department of Transportation!”
The Republican candidate issued another statement on Thursday in which he said: “As a college student twenty-two years ago, and a black conservative on a liberal campus, I made a website to provoke the left on campus and to draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists. It was nothing more than a college kid being over the top to get a reaction. Of course, I believe that women should vote and work.”
On Twitter, many women and Democrats expressed outrage at Mr Gibb’s comments on women’s suffrage, with many writing: “Oh hell no”.
— Hillary Scholten (@HillaryScholten) September 21, 2022
“Catherine The Great, Angela Merkel, Margaret Thatcher. Theresa May, Jacinda Ardern and a long list of current and former female leaders would like a word with him,” argued another user, in reference to Mr Gibb’s comments on the ability of women to govern.
Eric Swalwell, a Republican who famously sued Donald Trump for his role in January 6, meanwhile tweeted: “This is the MAGA-mindset. A woman’s body and mind should be controlled by men. We aren’t going back. That’s why we have to elect Hillary Scholten (Mr Gibb’s Democratic opponent).
Ms Scholten herself wrote: “Ladies and gentlemen, todays GOP. The assault on women’s rights is in full force. Not on my watch.”
Republicans have increasingly come under attack for rolling-back abortion rights following the decision by the conservative-weighted Supreme Court to overturn abortion righs enshrined in Roe v Wade, with the issue set to be a major deciding fator in November’s midterm elections.