A Republican congressman and Senate candidate has foregone any gesture of sympathy upon the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, instead using the occassion to suggest pro-abortion laws she “defended” were responsible for the deaths of “innocent babies”.
“RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws,” he wrote. “With @realDonaldTrump nominating a replacement that values human life, generations of unborn children have a chance to live.”
His message contrasted with that posted by his state’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, who has instructed all state buildings and grounds to fly their flags at half-mast through Justice Ginsburg’s internment.
“Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer, poured her heart and soul into public service, and made a lasting, positive impact on our Great Nation,” wrote Mr Kemp. “Our prayers go out to her loved ones and colleagues as they mourn her passing.”
Mr Collins’s opponent Ms Loeffler, meanwhile, drew flack online for a tweet combining her perfunctory condolences with a political message demanding the Senate be allowed to vote on a nominee before the next presidential inauguration.
The reaction to Mr Collins’s tweet on the pro-choice side was predictably furious, with many pointing out the implicit hypocrisy in Mr Collins’s “pro-life” position.
To honor the life of Justice Ginsburg, I will order flags to fly at half-staff on all state buildings and grounds starting today through the day of her interment.— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) September 19, 2020
My prayers are with the Ginsburg family.— Kelly Loeffler (@KLoeffler) September 19, 2020
Our country’s future is at stake &@realDonaldTrump has every right to pick a new justice before the election. I look forward to supporting a strict constructionist who will protect the right to life & safeguard our conservative values.
RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws. With @realDonaldTrump nominating a replacement that values human life, generations of unborn children have a chance to live.— Doug Collins (@CollinsforGA) September 19, 2020
As Russell Foster, a Democratic congressional candidate in Texas, put it: “The party that has killed over 200,000 Americans in less than 6 months is going to tell us they care about life? I am sorry I call BS! In 40 years have they built up the adoption system or anything to protect kids & give them a good life? NO! They just want power over women.”
Democratic Virginia congressman Don Beyer, meanwhile, shamed Mr Collins for his treatment of the deceased judge herself. “Justice Ginsburg is an American hero, a barrier breaker who devoted her life to serving the American people and fighting for equality. She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
“You disgrace yourself by celebrating her death.”
Let's see what Doug Collins, U.S. Senate candidate and current U.S. Rep from my great home-state of GA has to say tonight. I'm sure it's something civil & respectful. I mean even Trump managed to clear that low bar so only the worst of us would say... oh... https://t.co/XvEOSXpko2— Chris Giddens (@chrisgiddens) September 19, 2020
This is not Georgia. This is wrong and despicable. Our country and our state will reject you and your politics this year. https://t.co/7TX1nE24Pi— Carolyn Bourdeaux (@Carolyn4GA7) September 19, 2020
Doug Collins is celebrating the death of a Supreme Court Justice. Unforgivable. RBG deserves better than this garbage. https://t.co/PtEJJQ4w4s— Scott Dworkin (@funder) September 19, 2020
Mr Collins, a determined and vocal supporter of the president, has tried to mobilise the issue of abortion rights against Ms Loeffler, tweeting in June that “@SenatorLoeffler has spent over $16 million influencing politicians and elections. Including to radical abortion on demand leftists and anti-Trump Democrats. She was a lobbyist!”
However, Ms Loeffler has been endorsed by one of the state’s largest anti-abortion groups, the Georgia Life Alliance, which has sunk millions of dollars into TV ads for her.
Donald Trump, who featured a controversial anti-abortion activist at his presidential convention last month has not yet nominated a candidate to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat. However, he just last week released a longlist of sorts for the next open seat.
Among the names he gave were pro-life Texas senator Ted Cruz, formerly a bitter rival, and Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, who recently caused a furore with a New York Times op-ed in which he called for army divisions to be sent in to violently crush Black Lives Matter protests.
After Mr Trump floated his name, Mr Cotton tweeted: “It's time for Roe v Wade to go.”