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Robert Foster, a Republican candidate for governor in Mississippi, is defending himself after reportedly denying access to a female reporter because she’s a woman.
Mississippi Today reports that Larrison Campbell was denied access to a campaign trip with Foster—as part of an ongoing series the paper’s done on candidates—because she is a woman.
As Campbell explained in a column:
In two phone calls this week, Colton Robison, Foster’s campaign director, said a male colleague would need to accompany this reporter on an upcoming 15-hour campaign trip because they believed the optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair.
Campbell continued, explaining that the Foster campaign asked for a “weird request” for a male colleague to come along with her on the trip, which as she explained, her and her editor agreed would be sexist.
Foster doubled down in a tweet, saying that he wanted to follow the “Billy Graham Rule” and echoing Vice President Mike Pence’s decision not to eat alone with a woman unless he’s with his wife.
“Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the ‘Billy Graham Rule,’ which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage. I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife,” Foster wrote on Twitter.
Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the “Billy Graham Rule”, which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage. I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife. https://t.co/5tjH2x2g65— Robert Foster (@RobertFoster4MS) July 10, 2019
He continued on Twitter, claiming the “liberal left” was attacking him for his “integrity.”
“Once again, the liberal left is attacking someone for their integrity, professionalism, and Christian beliefs. They aren’t just attacking me. They are attacking the countless Mississippians who also share these values. Exactly why we need a #msgov who will protect these values,” he tweeted.
You can read all of Campbell’s column in Mississippi Today here.
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Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).