LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – Rumors of hesitance from Attorney General Dana Nessel to debate AG candidate Matt DePerno were confirmed Wednesday when she called him a “white supremacist” and said she would not debate him for ethical reasons.
Nessel told MIRS the investigation into DePerno’s alleged involvement to access and manipulate voting machines, which was referred to the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, would put her between a rock and a hard place.
The rock is her oath of office as Attorney General and as an attorney, which she said obligates her “to refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused.” The hard place is Nessel’s belief that DePerno will bring up the investigation “even if there’s an agreement that we don’t talk about it.”
Nessel said she’s not willing to break her oath of office, meaning that she would be handicapped in a debate setting.
“No matter how misleading of a statement Mr. DePerno might make, I will have to say, ‘no comment’,” Nessel said. “Really, it’s like going into a boxing match with one arm tied behind my back.”
Nessel said she also believes some of DePerno’s policies are dangerous and could result in potential acts of violence, and debating could provide him with a bigger platform to disseminate those ideas.
She referenced his support of groups like the Proud Boys and defense of the Wolverine Watchmen, as well as a tweet from DePerno that used a well-known Pepe the Frog meme, which can be associated with white nationalist groups.
Dana Nessel, Michigan’s Groomer General, is pushing a fake news story commissioned for by her office with taxpayer funds to prop up her failing campaign.
The take-way, the Mich AG race is rated the most important race in the country and now leans red. VoteDePerno deperno4mi pic.twitter.com/ezw6f5W8XR
— Matthew S. DePerno, Esq. (@mdeperno) August 28, 2022
“We can’t sugarcoat it. He is a white supremacist,” Nessel said. “To imagine what it would be like to have somebody like that in the role of the most important office to minority groups in the state of Michigan is terrifying.”
“For those two reasons, I cannot ethically and I will not debate this man and provide a stage for him to disseminate this information and dangerous evil rhetoric,” Nessel said.
But DePerno campaign spokesperson Tyson Shepard said the real reason Nessel isn’t willing to debate is her approval rating, which he calls “incredibly low.”
“She can point her fingers at all the reasons why she’s not doing this, but the real reason that she’s not doing this is she has a horrible record,” he said.
“Crime rate in Michigan is at an all time high, and opportunities for business are at an all time low, and quite frankly, faith in the Attorney General’s Office is at an all time low right now,” Shepard added.
He said that when an incumbent is “afraid to defend their record to their state,” it says a lot about what their office has accomplished.
“I think that this is just another play out of the Dana Nessel playbook of once again letting down the residents of Michigan,” Shepard said.
Nessel said she believes in the importance of respectful dialogue about candidates’ policies, but that she doesn’t believe that is possible this time around.