Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat running for re-election in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, told Ward Room Thursday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton, a “nasty woman” at Wednesday’s final presidential debate struck a personal note with her.
“Probably any woman who’s run for office, at least at a higher level, we’ve heard comments like that about us," Bustos said. "Either to our face, or whether it be through social media, or talking to one of our supporters, or going to our office."
"We’ve all heard things like that,” she added.
Bustos, who supports Clinton’s candidacy, said Trump “showed his true colors” Wednesday night. She criticized the divisive billionaire for being offensive and credited Clinton for taking the high road following the incendiary comment.
“I hope if theres anything good that can come out of Donald Trump’s nastiness, I hope it's that this language has been elevated to a level where people, not just women, but any decent person says, ‘enough of this,’” Bustos said. “If we’re ever going to attract good and decent people to be public servants we’ve got to say that we’re not going to tolerate this kind of talk."
Bustos claimed Trump has crossed the line repeatedly, even before the release of the now-infamous "Trump Tapes" that showed him making derogatory comments about women to Billy Bush. She pointed to his past comments about women, Muslims and the city of Chicago.
"Who at this point has he not offended?" the congresswoman asked. "It's a sad state of affairs that the candidate for the Republican Party is a guy like Donald Trump."
Bustos’ opponent, Republican Patrick Harlan, supports Trump’s candidacy. The Galesburg truck driver, who serves as president of the Knox County Tea Party, is running on a platform that bolsters national defense, protects the Second Amendment and limits the power of the federal government. On Thursday, Bustos pointed to a fundamental difference between her and her opponent
“I’ve never uttered anything about eliminating the National Security Agency or the IRS or the Department of Education or the EPA," Bustos said. "Those are federal agencies that play a very important role.'
Harlan responded, standing by his position and claiming the federal government is "attempting to run the lives of every individual.
"The problem with the NSA is that it is against the Constitution to invade on our privacy without probable cause," Harlan said. "We have seen that the Obama Administration is using the NSA as their own personal Big Brother. The IRS needs to be reduced or abolished if we can't get a checks balance system in place with the IRS, they are allowed to be the judge, jury and executioner. That is not the way that we are set up to operate in the United States. There has to be law and order to keep a balance of power."
"The federal Department of Education is not needed,” he added. "Our states have a department of education, that power needs to stay with the states and the local schools. The EPA is used as a tool by the federal government to keep the thumb of big government on the head of manufacturers."
Bustos noted that her and Harlan are "very, very different people."
"We have very different beliefs and there's a clear contrast for people who live in my congressional district when they go to the polls," Bustos said.