The site Trump Dating launched as a way for supporters of the 45th president to connect, and garnered some media coverage for its unusual niche.
“Finding a patriotic partner in today’s political climate has been challenging,” the site claimed. “Now search local supporters of President Trump with just one click.”
But those who visited the site were actually greeted by the face of a convicted child sex offender named William Barrett Riddleberger, who was smiling next to his wife, Jodi. As the New York Times noted, the couple are known for leading a political action committee inspired by the Tea Party, but William also has a darker history. In 1995, when he was 25-years-old, William was convicted of filming sex with a 15-year-old girl.
William Riddleberger did not serve any time in jail for the crime, the report noted. But he has been thrust back into the spotlight after his face appeared on the front page of the Trump dating site. Riddleberger said he did not see the big deal.
“I’ve already paid my debt for something I did 25 years ago,” Riddleberger told reporters from North Carolina news station WRAL (via Vice News).
The Trump Dating site was already under fire after having launched at the start of this month. As Pink News noted, the site allowed people who are already married to sign up and try to find a romantic partner, but has barred homosexuals from signing up.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 20, 2018
Others criticized the site for attempting to sell a wholesome dating experience while emulating a man who has been divorced two times and is accused of carrying on a series of extra-marital affairs shortly after his wife gave birth. Donald Trump has also been accused by 19 different women of acting in a sexually inappropriate manner with them, including some who claim he sexually assaulted them.
Some early reviews of the Trump Dating site noted that it had users from across the globe, many of them using the MAGA (for Make America Great Again) tag in their usernames.
But those who visit the Trump Dating site will no longer be greeted by a convicted child sex offender when they first reach the site. But Tuesday morning, William Barrett Riddleberger’s smiling photo had been taken down.