FARGO -- The Libertarian Party candidate for North Dakota Insurance commissioner says he has nothing to apologize for after using the phrase “Make America Rape Again” in a public Facebook thread.
Nick Bata’s Democratic challenger for the open statewide office, Ruth Buffalo, called on Bata to apologize for the comment, which was posted Tuesday, Oct. 11, to an ongoing Facebook thread about “rape culture” that began two weeks ago.
“The people of North Dakota deserve an Insurance Commissioner who has an appropriate temperament for the office, and who is compassionate to victims of sexual assault,” Buffalo said in a statement released by her campaign.
Bata said Thursday he won’t apologize for something he has the right to say. “My rights don’t end where their insensitivity begins,” he said.
Rape culture is a term, used often in feminist circles, that refers to the belief that sexual violence is too casually accepted and victims too often blamed.
“I over and over said rape is real but rape culture in America is not,” Bata said. “Anyone that believes someone is actually pro-rape is off their rocker. Since I disagree with them then I am ‘Trump supporter.'”
Bata said his “Make Rape Great Again” comment was a sarcastic response to being told he was a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, which he says he is not. He also said some comments had been deleted from the message thread.
The comments were on the Facebook page of Jess Roscoe, a Democrat who lost in a bid for a south Fargo legislative district in 2014. She said the remark’s play on Trump’s campaign slogan doesn’t excuse it.
"As a woman those comments are troubling, and I think that it's a snapshot at the sorts of comments and beliefs that are said on a daily basis that a lot of people don't think they're contributing to something so negative," Roscoe said.
North Dakota’s Libertarian Party declined to comment about Bata’s statements.
“It would be irresponsible of me, or anyone, to take a stance on a Facebook thread that is heavily edited, has deleted comments, and zero context,” Tony Magnall, spokesman for the North Dakota Libertarian Party, said in a response to a request for comment.
The Republican candidate for insurance commissioner, Jon Godfread, hasn’t publicly weighed in on the controversy.