Missouri Representative Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, on the floor of the U.S. House crying over gay marriage.
It is worth recalling today that just five months ago, this happened:
“Trump rules out Vicky Hartzler endorsement, tells voters to ‘forget’ about her.”
Those words — quoted
by no less a right-wing authority than Fox News — certified two facts: one, that the hedonistic Donald Trump was having no part of some Midwestern church lady pitted against two of his favorite Erics, both dripping with testosterone; and two, that she had groveled for Trump’s blessing in the first place.
U.S. Representative Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, was at the time a front-runner to become the Republican nominee for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat. Trafalgar Group, the preeminent GOP pollster, had her leading both disgraced ex-Governor Eric Greitens and disgraceful state Attorney General Eric Schmitt in a close three-way race.
So, Trump blew up her candidacy like a pile of subpoenas.
“You can forget about Vicky Hartzler for Senate from the Great State of Missouri,” Trump wrote on Truth Social (per the Kansas City Star
). “She called me this morning asking for my Endorsement, much as she has on many other occasions. I was anything but positive in that I don’t think she has what it takes to take on the Radical Left Democrats, together with their partner in the destruction of our Country, the Fake News Media and, of course, the deceptive & foolish RINOs.”
And Hartzler was cooked. But that still didn’t prevent her from asserting loyalty to the narcissist who had so callously gone out of his way to wreck her dreams.
“Hartzler, in a flurry of interviews on talk radio, sought to minimize the impact of Trump’s rejection,” the Missouri Independent
reported. “She said the only endorsement that matters comes from voters while emphasizing her reliability as a Trump supporter.”
continued, “She had, she told [one radio host], ‘voted alongside [Trump] more than any other Senate candidate, actually, in the country.’”
Even in humiliation, Hartzler wanted the world to know that she remained an obedient Trumper to the bitter end. And her pedestrian career in Washington indeed ended — at least for now — with Schmitt’s 45.6 percent vote total lapping Hartzler’s 22.1 percent and Greitens’ 18.9 percent.
But before leaving Congress, Hartzler garnered national notoriety last week with a bizarre display of pure malice. She broke down in tears pleading with her congressional colleagues to make a last stand for homophobia rather than allow same-sex couples to consummate their love in marriage. By passing the historic Respect for Marriage Act, Congress refuted such repugnance with an exclamation point.
If Hartzler’s goal was to authenticate her disgust for the LGBTQ+ community, it was mission accomplished. But that had never been in doubt. As far back as 2004,
she was the spokesperson for the Coalition Formed to Protect Marriage, which successfully convinced Missouri voters to enact a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
“Traditional marriage is the basic foundation and the largest stabilizing force in every civilized society,” Hartzler said at the time
. “But once we allow marriage to be counterfeited by activist judges for misguided causes, it will become meaningless. This is a very steep and slippery slope. Missourians have long valued traditional marriage and have no interest in seeing it wiped away.”
The grand protection of hetero marriage from the horror of non-hetero people would last less than a dozen years when the U.S. Supreme Court asserted same-sex marriage rights nationally with its landmark Obergefell v. Hodges
ruling in 2015. And now Congress has headed off any future SCOTUS attempt to end same-sex marriage by codifying it as a national right.
But not without one last-ditch, teary-eyed appeal from Hartzler, as the RFT reported last week
. “I'll tell you my priority: to protect religious liberty, protect people of faith, and protect Americans who believe in the true meaning of marriage."
What kind of person could become so distraught over the joy of other people who have done nothing to her but defy her prejudices? Maybe the same kind who could proclaim such piety while groveling at the feet of an epic sleazeball who did more to defile “traditional marriage” than anyone in memory.
Let’s not forget all of those years of Trump basking in sleazy New York tabloid headlines devoted to his scandals and cheating during his marriage to his first wife, the late Ivana Trump, and his second wife, Marla Maples — with whom he had openly cheated on Ivana.
And there was, of course, the alleged cheating on Maples while she was pregnant with their daughter Tiffany. Which sounds a whole lot like what he did to current wife Melania by having sex with a porn star while she was nursing their son Barron and with another woman months later.
Sorry, Congresswoman, but you cannot boast about your “reliability as a Trump supporter” and a defender of “the true meaning of marriage” five months apart. Or even five millennia apart.
What a contrast to the willingness of same-sex couples to endure endless bigotry and persecution by publicly declaring their love with a marriage contract resented by so many bigots of Hartzler’s ilk. Now that is the “true meaning of marriage.”
Hartzler certified the authenticity of her hatred toward LGBTQ+ people with her tears. What a telling display of the power of religious dogma, a condition to which most wars waged in human history owe their origins.
Hartzler’s bigotry is on brand. In 2017, the Advocate
— the preeminent LGBTQ+ publication — cited Hartzler as one of the nation’s four worst homophobes in presenting her its “Phobia” award
. She earned that with her failed sponsorship of an amendment to a defense bill that would have forbidden transition-related health-care spending by the military.
All of this woman’s dogmatism has been so negatively oriented. All the overblown rhetoric about family values has been contravened by unwavering opposition to social programs that would support lower-income families foreign to Hartzler’s political constituency.
I don’t pretend to know what drives that, nor do I care to speculate. Here’s a fact that speaks for itself: Just five months after Steve Walsh, her own communications director, had died of COVID-19 at least in part because he was unvaccinated, Hartzler made as big a splash as she could by sponsoring a bill to end federal vaccine mandates for employees
Who does that?
Maybe the same sort of person whose own nephew, Andrew Hartzler, felt moved to make a TikTok video which received more than half a million views in its first 24 hours, according to NBC News
“Today, my aunt Vicky started crying because gay people like me can get married,” the 24-year-old said in the video, which was shared Thursday. “So, despite coming out to my aunt this past February, I guess she’s still as much of a homophobe.”
It’s doubtful that Missouri has seen the last of Hartzler’s bigotry. The Respect for Marriage Act that brought Hartzler to tears requires states to honor same-sex marriages from other states. But it would not mandate that they allow such marriages to take place within their own states going forward were the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Obergefell
in the future.
Her tears suggest Hartzler has not permanently crawled under her rock. As long as zealots like her find acceptance, love for all will not be confused as a traditional American value.
It’s too bad — to borrow a phrase from Hartzler’s erstwhile idol Trump — that we can’t just “forget about her.”
Ray Hartmann founded the
Riverfront Times in 1977. Contact him at [email protected] or catch him on
Donnybrook at 7 p.m. on Thursdays on the Nine Network and
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