Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) jumped to the defense of one-time opponent Todd Akin on Monday, when Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens tried to equate Sen. Jeff Sessions' (R-Ala.) refusal to label Donald Trump's leaked comments on women as sexual assault with Akin's "legitimate rape" remark in 2012:
The comment McCaskill thought was "much worse" was uttered by Sessions on Sunday, in an interview discussing the leaked audio from 2005 in which Trump can be heard using graphic terms to boast about sexually assaulting women. In the interview, Sessions declined to say whether grabbing women by the genitals — as Trump discussed doing in the tape — was assault. "I don't characterize that as sexual assault. I think that's a stretch," Sessions said.
Akin, the former Missouri congressman who faced off with McCaskill in a 2012 Senate race, infamously argued during the campaign that women's bodies could block a pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said in 2012, while explaining his opposition to abortion even in cases where the pregnancy is the result of sexual assault. "But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."
Thanks to Akin's words, McCaskill, who was behind in the race, went on to victory.