Responding to a wave of damaging media stories and a condemnation by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Tim Ballard compared his tribulations to former President Abraham Lincoln in a video released Wednesday
The anti-human-trafficking activist also suggested those stories were timed to coincide with Utah Republican Mitt Romney’s announcement that he would not seek a second term in 2024 and were meant to derail Ballard’s potential U.S. Senate bid next year.
The video, posted to far-right commentator Jack Posobiec’s social media Wednesday afternoon, showed Ballard standing outside President Lincoln’s Cottage, where the former commander in chief penned parts of the Emancipation Proclamation.
“I currently am under fire with false allegations from sources that we have not been able to determine yet,” Ballard said.
“Like Lincoln — who was in this house — I will not stop, I will not give up,” he said, “no matter the pressure upon me. No matter the pain to me or to my family, because of lies, I will not.”
Last week, Ballard was condemned by the LDS Church for what a church spokesperson called “morally unacceptable” behavior. Other reports asserted Ballard stepped away from Operation Underground Railroad, the anti-human-trafficking organization he founded, after an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct was concluded.
Ballard has angrily denied those allegations. In the latest video, Ballard reads a statement denying the reports issued earlier this week by The SPEAR Fund, an anti-trafficking nonprofit organization he advises.
Ballard, who is eyeing a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Romney, inferred those negative news stories were timed to damage him politically.
“We are highly suspicious about the timing of such a statement,” Ballard said, “given the close proximity to Mitt Romney’s announcement he is retiring and my own public comments that I am prayerfully considering running for public office.”
Ballard seemed especially bothered by the rebuke from the church, stressing he is a “member in good standing” of the Utah-based faith. He further said the statement initially published by VICE News was somehow fraudulent and designed to kneecap his campaign.
“It has been alleged that an unnamed LDS Church spokesman issued a statement about me through a tabloid that is often hostile to people of faith,” Ballard said. “Further, my church has not publicly verified its authenticity.”
The Salt Lake Tribune and other news media outlets, including the church-owned Deseret News, have independently verified the authenticity of the church’s statement about Ballard. In it, the faith accused him of trying to exploit his friendship with senior apostle M. Russell Ballard.
“Once it became clear Tim Ballard had betrayed their friendship, through the unauthorized use of President Ballard’s name for Tim Ballard’s personal advantage and activity regarded as morally unacceptable, President Ballard withdrew his association,” the church said in its statement. “President Ballard never authorized his name, or the name of the church, to be used for Tim’s personal or financial interests.”
The two Ballards are not related.