By Annie Phun
Los Angeles, CA
Anthony Pappas, a candidate for Congress, began a press conference on Wednesday with a hypothetical. All the journalists in the room, he said, had been sterilized the second they walked through the door. As he explained sterilization, he wrote a few key terms on the whiteboard behind him: “tubal ligation,” “fallopian tubes,” and “testicles.”
It only got stranger from there.
Pappas is a Republican running against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th Congressional District. Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist who advocates for free college and other socialist ideas, gained massive attention when she beat out 10-term Representative Joe Crowley in July’s Democratic primary. Her chances of winning are high, with the ratio of the 14th district being six-to-one Democrats to Republicans.
Meanwhile, her opponent, a 70-year-old economics professor at St. John’s University, is basically unknown. Local newspapers such as the New York Post have attempted to question the Republican party on Pappas’ campaign, but the GOP has refused to issue a comment.
Pappas, dressed in a button up, sneakers, and khaki pants with holes in them, didn’t focus on Ocasio-Cortez during his press conference, which lasted more than an hour. Instead he discussed the controversial Supreme Court case of Stump v. Sparkman, which expanded the principle of judicial immunity.
“We are being ruled by a judicial dictatorship,” Pappas said.
He spoke at length about the Supreme Court case, which centered on a district judge’s role in approving an involuntary sterilization for a minor. Growing emotional, he described the woman’s inability to have a child and pulled a pink towel from his bag to mourn the loss of the woman’s metaphorical baby.
The candidate said that he too had been a “victim of the judicial court system.” During his divorce proceedings, his ex-wife accused him of domestic abuse, which he said resulted in the freezing of his accounts. When asked about the alleged domestic abuse, he grew defensive, stating that the judge “hallucinated that [he] committed a major crime.” He claimed that there is a trend of judges “taking advantage of their power,” ruling in favor of the wrong party simply because they can.
“When politicians tell you no one is above the law, they are lying. Information is being suppressed,” Pappas said. “There are good people in each profession, and there are bad people. We should have a system to hold the bad people accountable.”
Pappas also answered questions about policy and his opponent, but he was most eager to discuss his divorce and his proposed reforms to the judiciary.
At one point, Pappas was asked how many press conferences he had done before this one.
“None,” he said.