Opioid addiction is an American crisis. So are negative campaign ads, if you ask Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.).
At least that's what the congressman implied during a Wednesday visit with incarcerated drug addicts at Virginia's Chesterfield County Jail. One inmate was particularly worried about finding a job after her release, and Brat insisted he could relate. "You think you're having a hard time? I've got $5 million worth of negative ads coming at me," Brat said on audio captured by WCVE, Richmond's NPR affiliate. "How do you think I'm feeling? Nothing's easy. For anybody," he continued.
An odd moment from @DaveBratVA7th's visit to an addiction support group at Chesterfield County Jail: After an inmate describes some of the difficulties she'd face upon release, Brat says his life isn't all roses either, pointing to attack ads from @SpanbergerVA07 pic.twitter.com/uVDW4jsAhs
— Ben Paviour (@BPaves) October 18, 2018
Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat currently challenging Brat's seat this fall, soon tweeted that Brat's comparison of "the hardship of addiction and the struggles of recovery to his campaign" was "shameful." But Brat still hasn't clarified his comment, and even included WCVE's audio clip in a press release about the jail visit.
Brat does go on to tell the inmate "you've got it harder ... coming up with a job or whatever," per WCVE's audio. And in a tweet, Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Graham Moomaw suggested Brat's comment "could've been at attempt at humor." Whatever the off-color comment was, it seemed to get President Trump's attention. Kathryn Krawczyk
Congressman @DaveBratVA7th is one of the hardest working, and smartest, people in Washington. He is strong on the Border, Crime, the Military, our Vets and the 2nd Amendment. He is a powerful vote for MAGA and loves the Great State of Virginia. Dave has my Total Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2018