Progressives were floored by the announcement that Donald Trump had tapped former Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch to lead the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Congress created the commission to preside over commemorative activities and educational efforts celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, which extended voting rights to women.
During her eight years serving as lieutenant governor in Scott Walker’s administration, Kleefisch amassed a record that embodies anti-feminist views. Kleefisch lost her third race for re-election race last November to former state Rep. Mandela Barnes.
A former broadcast journalist, Kleefisch shocked the LGBT community during her 2010 race to become ex-Gov. Scott Walker’s running mate by ridiculing same-sex marriage on a Christian-right radio show. She described marriage equality as a “slippery slope” that would lead to all sort of bizarre and unanticipated relationships.
Kleefisch said: “At what point would we allow marrying inanimate objects? Could I marry this table or this clock? How about a dog? This is ridiculous.”
A fundamentalist Christian who says the Rapture is near at hand, Kleefish believes that women are subservient to men and that wives must obey their husbands.
The Progressive recently listed a number of other views held by Kleefisch that make her an inappropriate choice to lead the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. She denies that there’s a “war on women,” she mocks climate change and she believes that impoverished parents are responsible for their children suffering from lead poisoning.
Last fall, in the run-up to her re-election as lieutenant governor, Kleefisch tweeted that her opponent Barnes had kneeled during the playing of the national anthem at the opening of the Wisconsin State Fair. She later apologized for the statement, saying that she hadn’t seen him kneeling but that an unidentified person told her he did.
Barnes is African-American.
Progressive writer Jud Lounsbury also noted that the choice of Kleefisch to head the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission is consistent with other sarcastic leadership choices by the Trump administration. For instance, “Last year, Trump’s appointee to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was caught buying tobacco stock while at the office, which oversees anti-smoking efforts. Sticking to the pattern, he recently tapped a coal lobbyist to run the Environmental Protection Agency,” he wrote.