GOP congressman: 'I do stand behind' racist ad smearing my challenger


Steve Chabot went all-in on Trump-style xenophobia.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) says he stands by a campaign ad smearing his opponent as sympathetic to terrorists, and doubled down on Trump's racist fear mongering about the caravan of migrants who are fleeing violence in Central America.

At a debate for Ohio's first congressional district Wednesday night, the moderator asked the candidates if they believe the contents of their attack ads, "whether authorized by your campaign or presented by outside groups."

Chabot has been criticized over an outside ad from Paul Ryan's super PAC that falsely links his challenger, Aftab Pureval, to terrorists, and features a photograph of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Pureval is an American of Indian-Tibetan descent.

"The answer," Chabot replied, "is yes, I do stand behind all the allegations that were made in any of the ads that we've run."

In fact, Chabot repeated the attacks several times during the debate, and when he tried to scold Pureval over the tone of the debate, Pureval called him out.

"That's ridiculous," Pureval said. "You just, you said earlier that I was lobbying for terrorists, Mr. Chabot."

The ad itself is a false smear. Pureval worked at a law firm that handled a settlement between the Libyan government and victims of terrorist attacks. Pureval did not work on the case, and the settlement was reached before he was hired by the firm.

The ad Chabot defends is part of a pattern of Republicans smearing opponents using anti-Muslim bigotry, a tactic that comes straight from Trump.

But Chabot didn't stop there. Elsewhere in the debate, he parroted Trump's fear mongering about the caravan of migrants seeking asylum from violence in Central America. Chabot called the migrants "a danger to our country," and said he supports funding Trump's border wall.

Chabot also defended his vote against the 2013 Violence Against Women Act because the final bill covered "illegals."

Steve Chabot has already demonstrated his willingness to walk in lockstep with Trump on policy. He supports Trump policies that have destroyed health care, and has voted with Trump 96 percent of the time.

And now, by engaging in Trump's brand of racist fear-mongering, Chabot is showing residents of the first district that a Trump clone is all they can expect for their votes this election day. They deserve more.