Screenshot of Robert "RJ" Regan appearing as part of the Rescue Michigan Coalition's live panel
Screenshot of Robert "RJ" Regan appearing as part of the Rescue Michigan Coalition's live panel

Editor’s Note: This article includes statements referencing sexual violence and may be difficult for some readers.

“Having three daughters, I tell my daughters ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it,’” Robert Regan said. Regan claims his controversial rape comments were a clumsy attempt to make an analogy about the folly of ending efforts to decertify the results of the 2020 election.

Need to Know

  • Regan claims his comments were a clumsy attempt to make an analogy about the folly of ending efforts to decertify the results of the 2020 election.
  • The Republican previously shared anti-Semitic content, including the conspiracy theory that Jewish people were responsible for 9/11.
  • He also claimed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “fake war just like the fake pandemic,” has repeatedly embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory, and said that women “have a need to be dominated and they are starving for it.”

MICHIGAN—A Republican candidate likely to win a seat in the Michigan state House is facing backlash after he said he tells his daughters to “just lie back and enjoy it” if they’re ever the victims of sexual violence.

Robert “RJ” Regan made the comments on Sunday during a virtual live panel hosted by the Rescue Michigan Coalition, a conservative group that has spread lies about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. 

“Having three daughters, I tell my daughters ‘Well, if rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it,’” Regan said. 

Regan’s comment came after fellow panelist Amber Harris said that it was “too late” to keep challenging the 2020 election results. Instead, she encouraged Republicans to focus on future races. Regan, a self-described “serial entrepreneur” who is running to represent Michigan’s 74th district, claims his controversial rape comments were a clumsy attempt to make an analogy about the folly of ending efforts to decertify the results of the 2020 election.

“Sometimes, my words aren’t as smooth and polished as the politicians are because I’m not a politician. I’m working on it,” Regan told Bridge Michigan on Monday. He said his comments on rape and the election only meant “nothing is inevitable.”

To be clear, there is no mechanism for states to decertify election results. Regan’s comments have drawn significant backlash. 

“His comments are despicable and a level of disgusting we should not accept from officials representing Michiganders in public office,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of the Progress Michigan Political Action Fund. “The legislature, specifically the Republican leadership, should immediately pledge that they will refuse to seat Regan if he wins the election.”

Kent County Democratic Party Chair Bill Saxton, meanwhile, called on the Michigan Republican Party to remove Regan as the nominee in the deeply conservative 74th district. 

“Our friends and our neighbors across the 74th state House District deserve better than a man who jokes about rape, who has long disparaged women and who regularly promotes vile antisemitic rhetoric,” Saxton said in a statement. “The Republican Party must stand up to Robert Regan and hold him accountable for his shameful comments by removing his name for consideration on the special election May ballot. Anything short of that shows support for this kind of toxic rhetoric.”  

Michigan Republicans have also condemned Regan’s remarks. Michigan GOP Party co-chair Ron Weiser called them “beyond the pale,” and fellow co-chair Meshawn Maddock described them as “offensive and disappointing.” They’ve stopped short of asking Regan to withdraw from the election, however. 

After Regan’s comments went viral, the folks behind the Twitter account Michigan Tea and watchdog groups like Media Matters unearthed a trove of other controversial and offensive comments:

  • Regan shared a piece claiming that Jewish people, led by the Rothschild family, were responsible for 9/11, assassinated Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy, and controlled the media and banks. He also posted a meme that says 9/11 was a government lie.
  • He shared a meme from a defunct pro-Nazi website stating that feminism “is a Jewish program to degrade and subjugate white men.”
  • He claimed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “fake war just like the fake pandemic.”
  • He argued that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was eradicating “massive corruption, bio labs and money laundering” in Ukraine.
  • He endorsed a COVID-19 conspiracy theory video that called for executing President Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The video also falsely argues that COVID-19 vaccines are causing a genocide. 
  • He has repeatedly embraced QAnon, the dangerous and debunked conspiracy theory that endorses Donald Trump as the leader fighting against a cabal of “deep state” elites engaged in child sex trafficking.
  • He posted photos of himself in Washington, D.C. on the day of the Capitol insurrection, on Jan. 6 2021. Regan later said the insurrection was “staged,” calling it a “hoax” and a “false flag.”
  • He’s also made multiple racist comments and shared racist memes, shared Islamaophobic content, embraced “white toxic masculinity,” said women “have a need to be dominated and they are starving for it,” claims women are “more easily deceived,” and called his own daughters “hot chicks.”

Regan previously ran for the Michigan house in 2014 and lost. He unsuccessfully ran again in 2020—a campaign which his daughters opposed. “If you’re in Michigan and 18+ pls for the love of god do not vote for my dad for state rep. Tell everyone,” his daughter Stephanie Regan wrote on Twitter. 

Other than his political campaigns, Regan appears to have dabbled in a series of unsuccessful business ventures. According to state records, he created the Monroe Athletic Club, a “holding company for athletic club,” and Grey Cap Transportation, LLC in 2016. Neither company has filed any annual reports since then and are no longer in good standing.

In 2017, Regan launched Big Boyz LLC, a company that is involved in the “design, development and sales of athletic attire. That company appears more active, having filed an annual report with the state in February. Neither company has a website or physical address and instead listed PO Boxes in Grand Rapids as their mailing addresses. Regan’s name also appears in half-a-dozen court cases in Kent County over the years, primarily for traffic violations. 

Regan will face off against Democrat Carol Glanville, a Walker City commissioner, in a May 3 special election.