Then I watched the video about his claim that high officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had endorsed his “attrition by enforcement” illegal immigration legislation and told Pearce that their seeming statements to the contrary “didn’t apply to Arizona.” By the way, the church issued a prompt official response to Pearce’s false claims, stating the church had not endorsed any state immigration proposals, including any authored by Pearce. The church also took the opportunity to reaffirm its core principles on the immigration issue, which differ sharply from some of Pearce’s rhetoric, particularly regarding state-level, enforcement only measures.
The examples go on. Most politically active people in the old LD18 can recall receiving multiple droning emails from Pearce supporters, some forwarded by Pearce, with scripture and highlighted quotes from church manuals, denouncing Lewis and his call for a different tone on immigration issues. Many included false claims that Lewis was in favor of open borders and renewed the Pearce mantra of the “rule of law” must apply, without exception.
Fast forward now to the current state senate race in new LD25. Surprise! Pearce again invokes the name of the church, recently complaining his opponents were improperly using the church and its resources against him. Someone needs to hand Pearce a brown paper bag to help him stop hyperventilating.
Last week Pearce sent out a “sound the alarm!” email complaining that some young college students held a social gathering and invited Pearce’s opponent to attend it. The young people who organized the party were Mormons, and had the nerve to invite other young people…drum roll…many of whom were also Mormons!! See the scandal? And even worse, Pearce also thought part of this conspiracy involved recruiting some of these “naïve” young victims to get involved in politics as precinct committeemen! Oh, no! The heart of Pearce’s complaint was “that official church lists were used” to send out invitation texts. Pearce named two young, politically-active people, and without any evidence to back his claims, blamed them and called them “dishonorable, dishonest hypocrites.” While he was at it, Pearce also claimed that Jeff Flake, Kirk Adams, Jerry Lewis, and Bob Worsley—all the people who torment Pearce at night in his sleep—were somehow involved.
Nothing spells the end of times politically for a candidate like when they stoop to defame young adults; especially those who don’t have access to the press to defend their good names.
Pearce’s accusations were false. The people planning the event did not use church lists, and even have documented written conversations with another young man promoting the party that they specifically did not want him to use any sort of church list. That evidence was easy to produce since so much of the younger crowd communicates via Facebook and text messages. When one of the accused pointed this evidence out to Pearce via email and told Pearce he didn’t appreciate being called a “dishonorable, dishonest hypocrite,” rather than “man up” and apologize, Pearce responded: “Maybe you ought to read [the email] a little further. Not my e-mail, I just forwarded it. However I do believe it and it seems some never cease to abuse. If the shoe fits wear it.”
So, Pearce is not responsible because he “just forwarded it,” but he believes it, and wants all of his followers to believe it too. Huh?
Pearce later sent out an all-cap...uh…retraction? “FW: FRIDAY EVENT: I FORWARDED THIS WITHOUT MAKING IT CLEAR I AM FORWARDING THIS INFO AND IF IT IS TRUE, IT IS NOT RIGHT. BY THE WAY I WILL NOT BE FORWARDING INFO ON WORSLEY'S CAMPAIGN. HE CAN DO WHAT EVER HE THINKS IS OK AND I WILL RUN ON MY RECORD.”
Apparently, Pearce feels he can justify making any claim he wants if he adds the qualifier: “if this is true, it is not right.” Maybe that’s how he justified making the baseless claim during the recall that “Jerry Lewis steals backpacks from homeless children.”
I guess it’s not the first time Pearce has gotten in trouble forwarding questionable material that he later tried to backpedal out of.
So, using the same standard Pearce uses against others, let me just say that IF Russell Pearce kicks puppies and strangles kittens, well, that’s just wrong!
--Jared Ray is a politically active young person in LD25 who eagerly looks forward to sharing the fate of other young people who were attacked by Russell Pearce for attending a pool party.