Photo: Chuck Burton (AP)

Most people know South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman as the sort of even-keeled lawmaker who nominates Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, or pulls a loaded gun out during a meeting with constituents. But it turns out Norman is also a hilarious jokester who is able to take the worst news of the day and turn it into some real cutting edge, uh, “humor.”

“Did y’all hear this latest late-breaking news on the Kavanaugh hearings?” Norman asked a group of constituents in the opening moments of a Thursday debate between himself and Democratic challenger Archie Parnell.

The punchline?

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg came out saying she was groped by Abraham Lincoln.”

At the risk of coming off as a didactic pedant, allow me to explain the dynamics of Norman’s “joke” to you:

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  1. Norman observes that Ruth Bader Ginsberg is quite old (she’s 85).
  2. Norman assumes that the general public finds sexual assault as funny as he does.

There is no day when a wisecrack about a Supreme Court justice (or, really, anyone for that matter) being sexually assaulted wouldn’t be awful. But seizing on the ongoing sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh—who is accused by California professor Christine Blasey Ford of having drunkenly held her down and covering her mouth while trying to remove her clothes at a house party while the pair were in high school—is particularly revolting, especially given the widespread attempts by conservatives to both downplay Kavanaugh’s alleged behavior and tarnish Ford’s credibility.

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“My opponent apparently thinks sexual assault is a joke. It is not,” Parnell said in a post-debate statement to the Post and Currier. “But I guess that’s the best we can expect from someone who pulled a loaded gun on his own constituents.”

If timing truly is everything in comedy, it’s long past time someone told Ralph Norman to shut the fuck up.