PA Senate Candidate Sean Parnell Isn't Letting Horrific Domestic Violence Allegations Deter Him
Sean Parnell, a Republican running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania, has been desperately trying to seal his child custody proceedings from the public, and yesterday we found out exactly why. As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the Republican hopeful's estranged wife made some extremely damning allegations of domestic violence inflicted on her and her children.
In tearful testimony, Laurie Snell told a family court judge that her husband once called her a "whore" and a "piece of s—" while pinning her down. On another occasion, she said, Parnell slapped one child hard enough to leave fingerprint-shaped welts through the back of the child's T-shirt. And she said he once got so angry he punched a closet door with such force it swung into a child's face and left a bruise. She said Parnell told his child: "That was your fault."
She also testified that after a Thanksgiving trip in 2008, he briefly forced her out of their vehicle alongside a highway after raging at her, telling her to "go get an abortion."
Parnell, a decorated veteran who served in Afghanistan and public speaker on the subject of PTSD, hopes to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. After Toomey voted to impeach Trump this year, the former president vowed to take a personal role in the race to fill his seat. Trump endorsed Parnell in September, long after it was public knowledge that Snell had sought multiple protective orders (since expunged) against her husband during the marriage.
For his part, Parnell denies all the allegations.
"Let me emphatically state: I have never raised a hand in anger towards my wife or any of our three children," he told the Inquirer. "What happened today in court was not justice, nor did it have any basis in fact or truth."
But it's pretty hard to unring that bell when your ex-wife stood up in open court and said, "He tried to choke me out on a couch and I literally had to bite him ... He was strangling me." Ditto for allegations that she finally left the marriage in 2018 when he "started hitting the kids."
Former Republican congressman Ryan Costello urged Parnell to drop out of the race immediately.
"Let me emphatically state he would've lost the General by 5 before this, even to the do-nothing clown Fetterman, but now it's clear he'd lose to a golden retriever by double digits," Costello tweeted. "He should write books & play hero on Fox & gtfo out of the race. He's a disaster of a candidate."
But Costello finds himself the odd man out in his own party, thanks to his opposition to Donald Trump. It's not clear if any other Republican will publicly oppose a candidate with Trump's seal of approval. And if he stays in, Parnell will hardly be the only Trump endorsee credibly accused of domestic violence.
In Georgia, Herschel Walker, who has been open about his mental health struggles, has been accused of horrific abuse by his ex-wife, including pointing a loaded gun at her head and threatening to "blow [her] fucking brains out." For reasons entirely unclear (just kidding, it is racism) Trump persuaded Walker to move from Texas back to Georgia for a challenge to Sen. Ralph Warnock. And in Ohio, Trump gave his blessing to former White House staffer Max Miller in the race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who also voted for impeachment. Former White House communications director Stephanie Grisham alleged that Miller hit her during their relationship and even told Melania and her husband about it shortly after, but the pair made no move to relieve him of his position, much less encourage Grisham to file a police report.
And over in Missouri, US Senate candidate Eric Greitens has not yet received the former president's endorsement, although DJ's girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle is working on his campaign. Greitens was forced to retire as governor in 2018 when a woman accused him of tying her up and taking a naked photo of her which he threatened to publish if she told anyone about their extramarital affair.
So Parnell is hardly an outlier in today's GOP. In fact, you might say that he's just your average ladybeating Gipper, ready to win back suburban woman for the party of family values.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.