Republican Michigan gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette said he “regrets” his interactions with a woman caught on a decades-old video that has surfaced.
The short video, circulated Thursday by the progressive American Bridge, shows Schuette interacting with an unidentified woman off camera. The woman asks Schuette to move closer to a lamp, to which he smiles and responds, “I will be happy to move closer to the lamp. I will do anything you want – some things I may not let you run the camera on.”
The 39-second video is from 1989, when Schuette was a member of the U.S. House, according to American Bridge. He is the current Michigan attorney general locked in a bitter gubernatorial campaign.
“That apparently was my poor attempt to be humorous 30 years ago,” Schuette, 64, said in a statement to The Detroit News. “It’s fortunate for me that [my wife] Cynthia came into my life and let me know that I am not a very funny guy, but this is no less embarrassing to me today, and I regret it.”
Schutte also noted the video has been edited, only showing a part of his interactions with the woman.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer shared the video on Twitter.
“I imagine everyone who’s watched it had the same uncomfortable look on our faces,” Whitmer said. “But even more troubling is the fact that Schuette has spent the past 33 years in office attacking the rights of women and working to take away our access to contraception and health care.”
A former state senator, Whitmer has been open about being a rape survivor and has decried what she’s perceived as a “locker room” atmosphere in the state Capitol.
Convicted serial abuser Larry Nassar has also at times become a focal point in both Schuette’s and Whitmer’s respective campaigns.
The parents of a young girl who was sexually assaulted by the former Michigan State University doctor praised Schuette in a recent campaign ad. He filed the first of many sexual assault charges against Nassar in 2016, calling them the “tip of the iceberg.” Eventually, charges against Nassar involving the abuse of more than 150 young women and girls were rolled into two cases.
The Michigan Republican Party accused Whitmer of refusing to prosecutor Nassar in a series of Facebook ads – a claim she has denied.
Fox News has ranked the gubernatorial election as leaning Democrat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.