South Carolina fourth district congressman William Timmons took to the airwaves of the Upstate on Tuesday morning – angrily denouncing this news outlet for its recent reporting on his various alleged extracurriculars.
“We’ve got clickbait media – gossip blogs out of Columbia – we’ve got Democrats piling on, we’ve got failed political candidates trying to distract South Carolina with my personal life so let’s talk about that,” Timmons told host Tara Servatius.
To recap: Timmons – a second-term congressman and fifth-generation scion of one of the Palmetto Upstate’s most prominent families – issued an unsolicited 18-word statement to this news outlet on June 26, 2022 in response to initial inquiries about an alleged affair with businesswoman/ socialite Paula Dhier.
(Click to view)
Just to reiterate, my news outlet never sought comment from the congressman on his alleged affair with Dhier. Nor did I indicate we had any plans to publish a report on the rumored tryst (we hadn’t even really had a proper conversation about it in the newsroom because I was on vacation at the time the statement was issued).
Also, FITSNews has a longstanding policy of not getting involved in the private lives of public officials – a policy Timmons and his team were no doubt well aware of.
Nonetheless, the statement was issued to us as part of what I have been reliably informed was a “calculated move” by the congressman – who apparently now wishes to play the victim on behalf of both himself and his estranged wife, Sarah Timmons.
Talk about flipping the script, huh? Push out the story … then attack the media for covering it.
“I realize it’s been the discussion of the social media and the gossip blogs the last few weeks (but) the vast majority of everything that’s being said is absolutely false – its actually defamatory and libelous,” Timmons told Servatius on Tuesday. “My wife and I do not comment on our personal lives because they’re private – and they should remain that way.”
Okay … then why did you release a statement about them that no one asked for?
“That said, we are experiencing challenges,” Timmons acknowledged in his interview. “We’re going through a difficult time. I regret anything I’ve ever done to let her down. But again, our personal life has nothing to do with my service and representation of the good people of the fourth congressional district in congress.”
That was the closest the congressman got to issuing an apology to his wife …
Upon the conclusion of his opening monologue, Timmons said he was happy to answer questions, but that any inquiries about “my wife, my family and my friends are off limits – I’m not going to talk about them.”
Asked point blank whether he cheated on his wife, Timmons declined to answer the question.
“Challenges in my marriage do not impact my ability to serve,” he said. “My wife is an incredible woman. She’s beautiful, she’s kind, she’s loving, she’s been incredibly supportive – she’s sacrificed so much for me to serve both in congress and in the military – but she expects our private life to be private. She deserves privacy and I ask you to honor her wishes – our wishes.”
Timmons also rebuked allegations incorrectly attributed to this news outlet which accused him of purportedly manipulating the criminal justice system in the Upstate to engineer the arrest of his lover’s estranged husband – Ron Rallis.
“This allegation that a member of congress has any say over whether, how or when any criminal charges have ever been filed – is just outrageous, It’s insulting not only to me but it’s defamatory to the men and women that serve our community in law enforcement – our judges (and) our prosecutors,” Timmons said. “It’s just delusional to think that there’s any world (where) that can happen. It is just incredibly offensive to attack the criminal justice system that way.”
Really? Because South Carolina’s criminal justice system is such a paragon of integrity?
While my news outlet has never suggested Timmons had anything to do with Rallis’ 2021 arrest, he continued to blast our coverage as “outrageous.”
“You’ve got a person who is clearly going through a crisis right now that posting things and – one of the most ridiculous is this allegation of deviant sexual behavior which I cannot believe was ever published even on a gossip blog in Columbia,” Timmons said.
Servatius did not ask Timmons about messages from members of his family provoking Rallis – including one especially vulgar message from his younger brother, Cliff Timmons.
Timmons did confirm that The Washington Post was working on a story about the drama swirling around him – which I referenced in a story last week.
“The Washington Post has contacted me asking about these outrageous allegations,” he said.
Curiously, Timmons said he was “not going to sue the gossip blog in Columbia” but added that “if the Washington Post publishes anything I can promise you there will be a lawsuit the second they do.”
Why wait, congressman?
On another front, Timmons danced around a question raised two weeks ago by one of his former opponents in the fourth district GOP primary – namely whether an affair, if confirmed, would result in him being found in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
“I trust our institutions – I trust our military,” Timmons said. “I do not anticipate any challenges but the commanders of the S.C. Air National Guard are above reproach.”
Wait … the commanders of the S.C. Air National Guard (SCANG) are “above reproach?”
Timmons won his party’s nomination for a third term in Washington, D.C. last month in decidedly underwhelming fashion against a trio of comparatively unknown challengers. Even with the endorsement of former U.S. president Donald Trump, the 38-year-old prosecutor-turned-politician barely managed to avoid a runoff in his primary race – drawing an uninspiring 52.69 percent of the vote.
With Upstate businessman John Warren nipping at his heels and the national media digging into his scandal, Timmons is desperate … and it shows.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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