Women protest recent tweet by Slaughenhoupt
Other officials share thoughts on the matter
Nearly 20 women heeded a call to action and staged a silent protest at the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.
The protest was in response to Commissioners’ President Evan Slaughenhoupt’s (R) controversial tweet last week drawing a correlation between himself and U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was recently accused of sexual assault.
“We don’t protest Mr. Slaughenhoupt’s support of Kavanaugh, but his flippant attitude about violence against women. Mr. Slaughenhoupt drew a false equivalency between childhood games and alleged attempted rape — implying that such incidents are acceptable childish behavior,” Owings resident Helen Mary Ball said during the public comment period on behalf of the women standing behind her in the courtroom.
“We cannot allow such a sentiment to go unanswered. Violence against women is a persistent issue in our communities and in the nation and it should not be dismissed so casually. Mr. Slaughenhoupt, we will not get over it, as you implied,” added Ball, who is a member of the Calvert County Democratic Women’s Club.
Efforts to fill the room with women sitting quietly and somberly during the BOCC meeting were initiated a few days earlier by CCDWC and were spread by email.
“I came because I raised three children in this county, two of them daughters. I stand for them today so that they grow up in a world and a country that doesn’t accept harassment as a joke — it’s not a joke. It’s never OK,” Dunkirk resident Jackie Cutlip-Niles said in an interview with The Calvert Recorder after the commissioners’ meeting.
Slaughenhoupt tweeted, “I assaulted a young lady; 1st to 4th grade birthday gauntlet in school. Childhood friend of my affection had a birthday had to run the aisles. As did others, I smacked her on her buttocks. I feel so disqualified for any position today. NOT! Get over it people. Confirm Kavanaugh.”
“I was that girl at that party. I was the girl that was slapped on the ass. I was the girl who was harassed, I was that girl who was pushed down and it’s not acceptable ever,” Cutlip-Niles shared emotionally. She is also an associate member of the Calvert Commission for Women.
Slaughenhoupt and the four other commissioners sat quietly during Ball’s speech. Almost all of the demonstrators left immediately afterwards before Slaughenhoupt could address or rebut their concerns during the commissioner reports portion of the meeting.
He said the nation is experiencing a “hyper partisan environment” and that people are misinterpreting his statement or twisting his words to fit their bias.
“What is being attempted is the imposition of political correctness, which is nothing more than thought control,” Slaughenhoupt said. “I refuse to be subjected to such antics, as I am a free American.”
Slaughenhoupt said the leftists and progressives have corrupted “a once honorable” Democratic Party and their intent is to smear the reputation of Kavanaugh by fabricating charges against him. He quoted conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin on the battle between “those who support constitutionalism and those who support progressivism.”
“Progressives are not compassionate. Progressives don’t have big hearts. In the name of people, they destroy people. In the name of public, they destroy society. They are power-hungry. They are control freaks,” Slaughenhoupt continued, quoting Levin, with whom he said he shares the same views.
Slaughenhoupt also quoted conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson on attempts by Senate Republicans to resolve the issue, alleged resistance by Democrats and possible scenarios for charging Kavanaugh, stating that there has been no federal crime.
Slaughenhoupt said the controversy is not about Kavanaugh or the decades-old allegations. “It’s about leftists destroying due process and the presumption of innocence and the distraction of this country.”
Just before the meeting adjourned, Commissioner Pat Nutter (R) said Slaughenhoupt’s views do not represent the board. In a follow-up call to The Calvert Recorder the next day, Nutter said, “I cant speak for the other commissioners, but Evan’s views don’t reflect my opinion. I thought I made it clear at the meeting.” Nutter said, in retrospect, he understands why some people may feel the four commissioners should have spoken up regarding the protest or the board president’s comments during the meeting.
“He doesn’t just represent Republicans in Calvert County. He represents every single person, whether they’re Republican, Democrats and anyone in between,” said Democrat and Lusby resident Lauren Elyard, who stayed in the courtroom, adding that she was upset to hear the way Slaughenhoupt speaks about the people he is supposed to represent. Elyard said it was really disheartening knowing that he looks at all the women in the courtroom protesting and just sees bitter, angry, power-hungry people who don’t care about their fellow neighbors.
“Just knowing that that is his mentality — it’s just poisonous and that’s not something that needs to be anywhere near our local government,” Elyard said.
During a Calvert County Chamber of Commerce candidate forum Wednesday evening, both Slaughenhoupt’s tweet and the silent protest were vaguely referenced in a question from the audience about social media and commissioners’ decorum. Both Commissioners Mike Hart (R) and Steve Weems (R), who are up for re-election, were participating in the forum. Slaughenhoupt, whose term ends at the end of this year and is not seeking re-election, was not among the participants.
Hart did not directly address the issue but did say he has never been disrespectful to people on social media despite the numerous attacks he has received, but “can’t speak for other folks” on the board.
“I am sorry for what happened yesterday,” Weems said, referring to Slaughenhoupt’s statement after the protest, likening the situation to Mayor Jeannine James of La Plata, who was “lambasted” for her opinions on social media regarding Nike using Colin Kaepernick in an ad.
“I was advocating for a blanket statement and the majority chose not to do that — but I wanted to do that,” Weems said. “In essence, I am in purgatory right now. I got this current board and I’ve got to maintain civility with it and defer, but I also know that there is another board coming.”
After the forum, Weems clarified with the Recorder that he proposed a statement be issued after Slaughenhoupt’s initial tweet saying his views don’t represent those of the board of commissioners, but the board “was not of one mind.”
Cutlip-Niles was also at the forum and said such a statement from the board immediately after Slaughenhoupt’s tweet would have made a huge difference. She said while the apology from Weems was welcomed, she is “holding out hope” that the board president will apologize.
Twenty women sat silently in protest Tuesday to Commissioners’ President Evan Slaughenhoupt’s (R) tweet comparing child’s play to allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.