For three years, Virginia state Rep. Tara Durant has been telling the story about how being attacked along with her 12-year-old daughter by a rabid “mob” of Black Lives Matter “rioters” inspired her to get into politics. She has recalled the horrors of how these “angry,” America-hating degenerates “assaulted” her vehicle and threatened the lives and safety of her and her child, and the police did nothing to protect them.
“I got into public service two years ago because the personal safety of my daughter and me were threatened,” Durant, who is currently running for the Virginia state Senate said in a September debate. “Two years later, liberal Democrats in Virginia, they continue to threaten our security. The only way we can stop them from controlling us is if we not only hold to our majority in the House, but we flip the Senate. That’s why I’m running for Senate.”
“I got in politics a few years ago, because, as many of you know my story, that the personal safety of my daughter and me were threatened,” she said at another event in September. “That has been a key issue in my campaign because we saw what became the ‘defund the police’ movement.”
Yeah, there’s just one problem with all of that: The “key issue” in her campaign appears to be based on a lie.
NEW: Virginia GOP state legislator Tara Durant — who is currently running for state Senate in a pivotal race for the GOP and the fate of abortion rights in the state — built her career on a story that doesn’t add up. https://t.co/H4EZwaP2a1
— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) November 1, 2023
Now, I know what you’re thinking: A Republican lawmaker lying her way into office by throwing BLM under the proverbial bus to garner sympathy and support from her largely racist BLM-hating constituency? You don’t say.
Well, OK, you got me. This is all about as surprising as a fly landing on feces. Still, in the interest of further demonstrating how reliant the GOP is on white nationalist propaganda to galvanize their voter base, we should probably get into the details of Durant’s many exaggerations and flat-out lies concerning her experience with BLM protesters.
According to HuffPost, Durant claimed in June 2020, when protests had erupted across the country following the murder of George Floyd, an “angry mob” of Black Lives Matter “rioters” surrounded her car in downtown Fredericksburg. She called 911 for help, and she claimed police officers told her that they couldn’t intervene because it was a city-approved protest. Ironically, she was essentially attacking the police while attacking the BLM protests, which were anti-police protests.
Anyway, what’s as equally unsurprising as a Republican lying about a BLM attack to clout-chase is the fact that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson—the guy who got fired for playing a pivotal role in Fox News’ propagandizing, is a known Jan 6. riot sympathizer, and thought the violent death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police officers provided the perfect opportunity to tell a racist joke about Floyd—aired a partial recording of Durant’s 911 call and falsely framed the incident as a “woman terrorized by a violent mob.”
Of course, police, protesters and witnesses all tell a different story altogether.
HuffPost reviewed copies of police reports, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, that suggest Durant instigated a confrontation with protesters, who regularly held peaceful demonstrations in the area, and that she tried to hit them with her car as they stood in a crosswalk.
According to the police reports ― which characterize the protest as peaceful, with “no arrests or property damage” ― witnesses told police there was a car being aggressive toward protesters in the same intersection where Durant was located, at the same time she was there.
Beyond that, the full recording of Durant’s 911 call includes an exchange where she says she is prepared to run people over. These portions of the audio were selectively edited out of Carlson’s TV segment.
At one point during the call, the police officer on the line is calmly telling an audibly upset Durant not to hit demonstrators with her car. Durant responds: “Well, I will. I absolutely will.”
In the days after Durant’s run-in, Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw said her 911 call showed that the dispatcher was simply advising Durant not to drive through the planned protest.
Audio, courtesy of @HuffPost: VA Senate candidate Tara Durant (R) threatens to hit protesters with her car; police officer responds, “OK, ma’am, you cannot hit people with your car.” And no, this person is NOT State Senate material – go @joelgriffinva! https://t.co/2ebEbcB9rc pic.twitter.com/l8wMemYNN3
— Blue Virginia (@bluevirginia) November 1, 2023
So, just to recap: Police, protesters, witnesses and the mayor all agree that it was a peaceful protest with zero violence or property damage, as the vast majority of protests were during that time. Police, protesters, witnesses and the mayor also all agree that it was Durant who was the aggressor in the incident and that during the parts of her 911 calls that were omitted from Carlson’s display of fake journalism, Durant repeatedly threatened to start running over protestors. Then she ran for office on the issue of “personal safety.”
But wait, there’s more.
Durant claimed one of the protesters jumped on the hood of her car during the incident. As it turned out, it was a 13-year-old who wasn’t affiliated with the demonstrators who jumped on her car, and the actual protesters, in fact, pulled the child away and scolded him for doing it. But little details like that don’t fit Durant’s largely fictional narrative, so there’s that.
On top of all that, Durant, who, at this point, has proven herself to be nothing more than the Karen of all Karens, began targeting people who weren’t even at the protest she had done so much lying about.
More from HuffPost:
Adding yet another wrinkle to the story, Durant went on to charge two teenagers with assaulting her car, one of whom wasn’t even there. Durant served a subpoena to local civil rights activist Taylor Johns and took her to court, but the case was thrown out after Johns proved she was at work during the protest. The second teen, who was not identified in documents but was charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor based on Durant’s complaint, was found not guilty.
Johns responded by suing Durant for malicious prosecution, and a judge denied Durant’s attempt to have the case dismissed. But Johns, who was 18 and had no attorney, ultimately dropped the case due to emotional and financial strain.
This was followed by another local activist, Marc Stout, filing a lawsuit against Durant for defamation. Stout wasn’t at the protest, but he claims Durant showed up at his house at 9 o’clock one night to confront him about YouTube videos he’d made in which he talked about the protest. As of May 2022, Durant had not been served with Stout’s lawsuit.
Again, Durant has been telling these lies for three years. She even turned it all into her political origin story. Unfortunately, none of the receipts proving her dishonesty are likely to dissuade Republican voters from handing her a state Senate seat, which would give Republicans, who already control the House and the executive branch in Virginia, a majority in the Senate as well.
As I said, white nationalist lies are the GOP’s bread and butter. Durant is only the latest example.
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