State Representative Mike Hill has come under fire for how he handled a constituent’s remarks that the Bible states a man that has an affair with another man will be put to death and jokes that he should propose it in a bill (Inweekly, “The Gospel of Mike Hill,” 5/30/19).
His defense and those used by his supporters have taken three paths. The first strategy has been to attack the media for reporting the exchange and calling the reporting “fake news.” The dialogue is indisputable—recorded by both the PNJ and Inweekly. When the man blurted out his erroneous interpretation of 1 Corinthians, Hill agreed and said, “Says that in the Old Testament, too.”
Inweekly reporter Jeremy Morrison was in the room. Hill didn’t look shocked or even hesitate to jump on the comment. It took a nearly a week after Inweekly reported on it for Hill to come up with a lame apology after first claiming he had corrected the man and then later saying he was so stunned that he didn’t know how to respond. Both are bald-faced lies.
The second strategy has been to assert that Hill is a victim and under attack for his “heartbeat” bill that would ban abortion for victims of rape, incest, domestic violence and human trafficking. The lawmaker said that God told him to file without any exceptions. He argues that if he hadn’t come out for the bill, the media wouldn’t have reported on the “killing gays” exchange.
No, Mike. Your statements stand on their own. You could have talked about puppies, butterflies and unicorns the entire meeting, and when the discussion turned to killing gays, Inweekly would have still reported on it. Joking about ending the heartbeat of any member of the LGBTQ community should have been corrected quickly and without trying to reconcile the killing with Bible verses. Plus, we couldn’t ignore your social media history of unprovoked attacks on the LGBTQ community.
A third strategy has been to use the race card. Initially, Hill called the news reports a lynching. Then last Friday when Gov. Ron DeSantis was signing legislation to ban sanctuary cities in Florida, his supporters blasted Republicans for not allowing Hill to attend, although they offered no proof that the District 1 representative hadn’t received an invitation.
James Calkins, husband of Hill’s legislative assistant, Maria Calkins, said, “They’re throwing the first black Republican representative under the bus, and I think it’s wrong.”
This defense is so bizarre, especially coming from a white man. Hill has repeatedly said that he isn’t an African-American. When he appeared on “Morning Joe” in August 2013, Hill said, “I’m not an African-American. I’m an American.”
No fake news here, only a fake lawmaker.