Tim Michels used the debate stage to spread lies about abortion, climate change, gun safety and you

The Republican gubernatorial candidate claims the red flag laws – designed to protect potential victims – would be used by a “disgruntled ex”. And despite record unemployment, Michels calls people lazy.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels made several chilling statements during his one and only debate with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers last Friday night, including a claim that Wisconsin has “a whole class of lazy people,” even though more people in the state are working than ever before.

The owner of the state’s largest construction company, who splits his time between homes in Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin, also made false claims that abortions are performed ‘at the time of birth’ and Evers is in favor of “a doctor killing a baby after birth.

The debate, sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, brought together a wide panel of reporters, but its hour-long format did not allow for in-depth follow-up questions about Michels’ claims.

For example, on gun violence, Michels said “I’m going to fix it,” but was not pressed for specifics. Instead, he defended his opposition to red flag laws, in which a court can hear concerns about the risk of harm posed by someone and temporarily bar them from possessing or obtaining firearms until until the demonstrated risk is reduced.

“Here’s a hypothetical example,” Michels said. “A disgruntled ex might say, ‘My ex, who’s a hunter, has guns at home, and I’m afraid of him.’ And without due process, these weapons could be confiscated.

Despite Michels’ willingness to cast doubt on requests for help from victims of domestic violence, experts largely agree that due process is addressed in red flag laws.

The crime, which has been central to Michels’ campaign, will also be featured in hypothetical future speeches, should he be elected – though again lacking in detail.

“I’m going to talk to the bad guys, if you will, on election night in my victory speech,” Michels said. “And I’m going to talk to them and in my inaugural speech, I’m going to let them know there’s a new sheriff in town and…they’re going to understand if they don’t want to do the time, they shouldn’t commit the crime.


In a question about education, Michels wasn’t asked for examples when he said, “The parents came in. They showed me what their children are taught in school and they are outraged and they don’t like it. .” But for that reason, Michels said he would allow parents to use “tuition money” – his description of public education funding – to attend the school of their choice, whether public. , private or religious.

“How are we going to teach the breed? Michels began his answer with a question. “We will involve the parents. Right now, parents show up at a school board meeting and they’re given a stiff arm. “We know what we are doing. Let us “educators” to educate your children as well as possible. The parents are screaming right now.

Michels did not answer when asked how he would like to change the way students are taught about racial history in the United States. Evers replied that if Americans can’t talk about tough issues in the classroom, “we’re in a sorry state.”

Labor shortage and economy

Asked how each candidate would address a labor shortage, Evers responded with details on how to tackle relevant issues such as affordable housing and childcare. Michels made an unsubstantiated claim that the problem could be solved by tackling laziness.

“We’re going to get people off their couches and back to work,” Michels said. “We’ve created a whole class of lazy people during COVID, and it’s time to re-engage them in our economy, to stop just sending them the unemployment checks, the COVID grant checks, which I know are now gone. . But they were getting them, and that’s how they got lazy.

Evers replied, “We have the lowest unemployment rate on record and the most people working ever. Our economy is strong. The governor pointed to a record budget surplus estimated at $5 billion as evidence of how well the state’s economy has been managed during the pandemic, keeping businesses and workers afloat, generating revenue and by paying the taxes that led to the surplus.

Michels disagreed that having a budget surplus is a positive outcome of a prosperous economy.

“I think it’s a horrible thing,” Michels said. “Why? Because it’s your tax money. The people of Wisconsin have been overtaxed by almost $6 billion. We’re going to do massive tax reform.

Michels did not elaborate on his definition of “massive tax reform.” Evers presented a plan for the surplus that included targeted tax relief and a 10% tax cut.

Climate crisis

Michels made many references to being a “businessman” and that “businessmen” and “smart people” would help him write policies on taxes and crime, but this confidence outside experts does not affect a rapidly warming global climate and the use of fossil fuels.

“Climate change, you know, there’s a lot of talk about that,” Michels said. “Has the temperature risen? The temperature has always fluctuated throughout the history of this world. And we can’t just say it all happened because of the actions of man over the past 100 years.

There is almost unanimous sentiment among climatologists about human activity over the past 100 years and its impact on the climate.


Pressured by his long-standing views opposing women’s reproductive freedom, Michels only recently attempted to moderate his position by indicating his willingness to accept an exception for victims of rape and incest in a ban on state abortion. Michels used misrepresentations to try to portray Evers as holding opinions outside the mainstream of public sentiment.

“I’m pro-life and I make no apologies for that,” Michels said. “But I will tell you who the real radical is. The real radical is Governor Evers, where he is for allowing abortions as late as the moment of birth, even vetoed the Born Alive bill, which would allow a doctor to murder a baby after the birth. It’s extreme.

Health care providers are already legally obligated to keep a baby alive in the extremely rare event that it survives an attempted abortion. Michels was in no rush to provide examples of doctors murdering babies after birth or any other evidence to support his false claim.

Election Integrity

Michels repeated Republican talking points designed to reduce public confidence in the accuracy and security of the election – although no evidence was ever presented of irregularities that would affect the outcome of the 2020 presidential election — and he promised to sign a series of Republican bills that Evers vetoed. make it harder for Wisconsin residents to register and vote. Evers expressed confidence in the work done by more than 1,800 local election clerks and many other election workers, and he didn’t hesitate on whether he would certify an election, even if he lost.

“Certification is something the governor does,” Evers said. “They do it in a very specific way. When my opponent says, “Well, I don’t know if the legislature sends me something that says Biden lost and Trump won.” I don’t know if I’m going to sign this. Wait, you have to. It’s part of the process. The right to vote is recorded on the ballot paper. It’s radical to say, “I don’t know how it’s going or if a fraud happened”, when it didn’t happen.

Teresa H. Sadler