Robert Foster can't be alone with a woman.
A GOP gubernatorial candidate in Mississippi is making quite a name for himself, but probably not how he intended.
Wednesday saw Robert Foster, currently a Mississippi state representative, dominating the news cycle for his absurd refusal to allow a woman reporter to shadow him on the campaign trail.
The reporter, Larrison Campbell, wrote a piece for her news outlet, Mississippi Today, explaining that Foster told her that she could only accompany him on a 15-hour campaign trip if she would bring a male colleague.
At first, Foster explained that Campbell would need male accompaniment because he is afraid of being photographed with her and having those photographs used against him.
"Perception is everything," Foster said. "We are so close to the primary. If (trackers) were to get a picture and they put a mailer out, we wouldn’t have time to dispute it."
Foster didn't explain how trackers would be able to make him look bad with a mere photograph of him with a woman reporter. Particularly one who describes herself, as Campbell does, as "very openly gay."
Foster offered a further explanation, but it isn't one that made him look better. He tweeted that he and his wife follow the "Billy Graham Rule" and "avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage."
Apparently, for Foster, the mere presence of another woman in the room, absent additional men, is threatening. Notably, he didn't give Campbell the option of bringing another woman along to chaperone.
Now, Foster is attacking anyone who thinks his Mike Pence-style rule prohibiting him from being alone with a woman is patently ridiculous. He declared that he "will not be intimidated into a corner of silence by a group of radical Socialists and Communists whose goal in life is to dismantle America." He also tweeted that he refuses to change his "moral stance" because "it’s not popular among the radical left."
Foster's stance is likely unpopular with all but the most rabidly conservative Christians. It's also profoundly misogynist. It means that woman reporters like Campbell don't have an opportunity to do their jobs and cover Foster because he's worried about his own self-control.
With under $50,000 in the bank and an incredibly well-financed primary opponent — current Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves — Foster won't likely have to worry about reporters, female or otherwise, much longer.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.