Since Bennett became the first Republican to file for the race to replace Rep. Mark Meadows back in December, she’s weathered several major controversies.
First, it was the suspicious timing of Meadows’ announcement and the advance notice Bennett seems to have received.
Then, it was the endorsement of Bennett by Meadows himself after Meadows reportedly told some of the 12 Republicans who ended up in the race that he wouldn’t endorse anyone.
Then, it was the revelation that a sham “conservative ballot” endorsing Bennett had been created by a two-day-old PAC that no one had ever heard of before the start of early voting on Feb. 13.
The PAC has more than just a passing connection to Bennett’s largest campaign vendor, and at least one candidate has called the whole thing “dirty and illegal” while calling for Bennett to drop out of the race.
But all along, Bennett’s been most vilified by audio that’s been widely circulated on the internet since long before Meadows gave any indication he wasn’t going to seek reelection.
That audio is from a meeting more than three years ago in which Bennett is clearly heard to exclaim, “I’m a never Trump person. I don’t want Trump. I’m never Trump, not going to vote for him, and I want him taken off that palm card or I’m not helping you guys.”
Other controversies aside, the “never Trump” audio was the one seized upon by PACs and partisans alike as “proof” of Bennett’s true colors, and a flurry of glossy mailers sent to voters has sought to exploit that point above all others.
What’s missing from the audio is the context in which it occurred.
As reported by First in Freedom Daily on Feb. 27, a newly-discovered 37-minute audio clip appears to back up Bennett’s consistent claims that a 50-second excerpt of her denigrating Trump was used out of context or altered in order to portray her as being anti-Trump.
Both clips demonstrate that Republicans including Bennett were discussing which candidates to list on a handout for voters, with some expressing the opinion that an incumbent Republican Haywood County commissioner shouldn’t be included.
Both clips also feature HCGOP Chairman Ken Henson expressing concern that such an omission would be bad for the party, and both clips showcase Bennett’s “never Trump” soliloquy.
What the shorter clip doesn’t include is that Bennett’s role-play was apparently so convincing to some that she felt she had to let the assembled crowd know that she was making a hypothetical argument as to why the HCGOP shouldn’t get into the habit of excluding other Republicans.
“I am being facetious!” Bennett says, apparently exasperated, at the end of a long rant in which she seems to be attempting to portray the kind of arguments HCGOP volunteers might encounter at the polls from Republicans opposed to Trump’s presidential candidacy in 2016.
Given the controversy surrounding the integrity of the 50-second clip, it’s hard to deem authentic the 37-minute clip as well; digital fakery is now easily within reach of even the most pedestrian computer users, so as with the first clip, discretion and judgment should be utilized in weighing the second.