Pro-Trump Republican trying to oust Cheney says he got his girlfriend pregnant at age 14: ‘It was like Romeo and Juliet’
A pro-Trump Republican candidate hoping to oust Liz Cheney from her Wyoming congressional seat has shared details of her first marriage, describing it as a “tragic love affair,” while others call it statutory rape.
State Senator Anthony Bouchard revealed that he impregnated his 14-year-old girlfriend at the age of 18 and they married the following year – during legal days in Florida, where they lived.
In a Facebook Live video, Mr. Bouchard said he was trying to get ahead of history after learning his opponents were digging into his past. He did not specify their ages in the video but gave more details to The Casper Star-Tribune.
“At the end of the day, it’s a story [of] when I was young, two teenage girls, one girl got pregnant, ”he said.
“You’ve heard these stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the story of Romeo and Juliet.
The couple have been pressured by their family over their situation.
“Lots of pressure. Pressure to abort a baby. I have to tell you. I wasn’t going to do that, and neither was she,” he explained. “And there was pressure to get her banned. “Just pressure. Pressure to go and hide somewhere. And the only thing I could consider the right thing to do was get married and take care of him.”
The two were legally married with a judge’s approval, as Florida law declared that they were eligible regardless of their age as a pregnancy was involved and a parent had consented.
The couple divorced about three years later, and the woman committed suicide at the age of 20.
Mr. Bouchard raised their son, but said he “almost became my estranged son” because he made “bad choices in his life”.
The state senator encouraged his followers to share the 13-minute video on Facebook because he wants everyone to know the story and doesn’t want to hide anything.
He denounces “dirty politics”, the “establishment swamp” and the media in the video.
Mr Bouchard said the information was already being sought by a political opposition research firm and a UK media outlet.
While Mr. Bouchard may have taken a step ahead of history, his framing as a “Romeo and Juliet story” has sparked outrage and accusations of statutory rape.
Christine Pelosi, Democratic Party strategist and daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tweeted: “No. Sex between the ages of 18 and 14 is legal rape. I know because I chased him.
“14 was not the age of consent in Florida and although there are laws on Romeo and Juliet, they are for ‘near-age’ teenagers, which this couple was NOT,” she added.
Calling for an end to child marriage, Ms Pelsoi said it was a horrific vestige of institutionalized patriarchy that states allowed people who commit statutory rape to perfect the crime by marrying the victim.
Ms Pelosi was not alone in her characterization of the story, with others pointing out that the alleged rape, marriage, birth, divorce and suicide all occurred before the woman in question was old enough to buy alcohol.
Another central point was Mr. Bouchard’s description that getting married was “the right thing to do”.
“I guess it never occurred to him at 18 that the right thing to do was not to have sex with a child in the first place,” one tweet read.
Eight people have announced they will challenge Ms Cheney in the 2022 Republican primary.
Mr. Bouchard was the first and has been riding the wave of anti-Cheney sentiment within the party since January, successfully raising funds for his run as the outgoing Wyoming representative lost his leadership position in the House.
Donald Trump has said he will approve a candidate to run against Ms Cheney, but has yet to do so.