During an interview on CNN on Tuesday, Georgia state senator and Republican candidate for governor Michael Williams decried the discounts Delta purportedly offers to “members” of Planned Parenthood. There was just one problem — the discounts are a figment of his imagination.
Asked by host Brianna Keilar to respond to Delta’s decision to end discounts for NRA members, Williams said that “if they’re going to pull the discount for NRA members, why not pull it for Planned Parenthood or some of the left organizations out there?”
Williams’ claim — which has been a topic of discussion on right-wing internet forums — nearly left Keilar speechless.
“Wait, wait, wait — where are you getting that, that Delta gives a discount to Planned Parenthood members?” she said.
After some hemming and hawing, Williams admitted that his source was a Google search.
“Other senators, as well as myself, we looked it up on Google, and I apologize, I don’t know the exact source right now, but my campaign can get it to you if you need to,” he said.
After Keilar repeatedly pushed him to substantiate his claim — “if you’re making that argument, shouldn’t you have your facts straight?” she asked at one point — Williams eventually said “let’s, I guess, agree to disagree.”
“Bring me back on and I’ll have the information for you about where they are giving away these discounts to left-leaning organizations that support Planned Parenthood,” he said, subtly revising his original claim.
On Tuesday evening, Keilar continued to try and hold Williams accountable for pushing misinformation.
Sen. Michael @williamsforga you promised me info to back up your Planned Parenthood claim, saying “my campaign can get it to you” but you and your staff have ignored CNN’s multiple requests for the information. Will you keep your word?
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) February 28, 2018
ThinkProgress reached out to Planned Parenthood for reaction to Williams’ comments. On Tuesday evening, the organization responded with a tweet saying, “Being a Planned Parenthood supporter doesn’t come with corporate perks and discounts. People stand with Planned Parenthood because they support reproductive health and rights.”
Being a Planned Parenthood supporter doesn't come with corporate perks and discounts. People stand with Planned Parenthood because they support reproductive health and rights. https://t.co/RcHKSxI9As
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) February 28, 2018
Williams seems to have few regrets, however. After his comments were widely mocked on Tuesday night, on Wednesday morning he tweeted that “After a great night of sleep, I’m back at it and look forward to responding to the haters and false attacks.”