At last, U.S. Rep. French Hill has no shame.
His campaign continues to dishonestly portray Democratic opponent Joyce Elliott. It’s using a photograph meant to mislead and putting words in her mouth.
UPDATE: Hill feels the heat. See this new poll, admittedly including an oversample of African-American voters, that shows the race in a statistical dead heat, with Elliott leading Hill 48-46 and a high percentage of respondents unhappy generally and with Hill.
The mailer shown here drew an immediate unhappy response from Elliott supporters. First because it recycles a photograph of Elliott participating in a rally for the Little Rock School District, but puts it in the context of Black Lives Matter demonstrations. The millionaire white banker is slamming down a racial card against an African-American former school teacher he can’t beat in a fair fight.
Worse is the text.
Good luck finding Joyce Elliott uttering the words attributed to her there, either directly or directly. She’s never said, for example, riots were a reasonable response to police violence. She’s never said prisons were an extension of slavery, but she has spoken up for criminal justice reform and decried private corporations getting rich off locking people up in squalid conditions. (Hill’s consultants at Gilmore Strategy Group also work for a private prison company, it so happens.)
The words “white supremacist” in quotes is, according to Hill documentation, from a podcast. Give a listen and see if you can hear her say those words. (Here’s the trranscript.) Quotes in the mailer about policies she supposedly supports along with Black Lives Matter are apparently from a former website devoted to that issue, not from Elliott.
It’s guilt by association. It’s wrong. You can support the proposition that black lives matter without assuming responsibility for any statement ever made by anybody who has carried the banner. Why not say French Hill endorsed the slaying of two Black Lives Matters demonstrators in Kenosha, Wis., because Hill doesn’t believe in the Black Lives Matter movement? Or that French Hill supports paying a prostitute to keep quiet about an extramarital affair because his candidate for president does?
The sentence including the remark about Elliott calling Donald Trump a terrorist comes, according to the mailer’s footnote, from an Arkansas Times article about election night 2016. It carries no such comment from Elliott. Or anyone else. Elliott is undeniably (and proudly) guilty of having supported Hillary Clinton.
There’s much more to deconstruct in Hill’s house of supposed Elliott horrors. But why be drawn further into his game? His handlers don’t expect recipients to check the footnotes, just to be frightened by the lies.
Facts: Hill has been dishonest about the universally backed legislation to improve rural 911 service that Elliott supported, including people then employed by Governor Asa Hutchinson who are now paid by French Hill. He’s lying in this mailer. Hill supports a serial liar named Donald Trump.
Some voters are tired of lies. Hill hopes to reverse a trend in Elliott’s direction among voters by playing to fear and their worst instincts. It’s worked for him and Donald Trump before.
Will it work again in 2020? Hill’s is apparetly going all in on fake facts.
I’ve asked his campaign about the misrepresentations. Should I hear back, I’ll update.