Kellyanne Conway “looked kind of familiar” on her knees in the White House Oval Office, according to Democrat Congressman Cedric Richmond.
The New Orleans-area lawmaker made this observation last night at a Washington Press Club Foundation awards dinner, but now insists his quip was non-sexual in nature.
A senior adviser to President Trump, Conway was the former New York real estate mogul’s campaign manager in election 2016, and as such, is the first woman to successfully run a U.S. presidential campaign.
In his original remarks (see clip below), U.S. Rep. Richmond was alluding to the now-famous photo of Conway on the couch in the Oval Office as she was getting ready to take pictures of President’s Trump meeting with the presidents of historically black colleges, an image that sparked outrage, or faux outrage, on Twitter among the social justice cohort.
In his remarks at the event directed to U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina (who had joked about the Conway controversy that the couch had seen a whole lot worse), Richmond responded in this manner, the Washington Post reported.
“You even mentioned Kellyanne and that picture on that sofa. But I really just want to know what was going on there, because, you know, I won’t tell anybody. And you can just explain to me that circumstance because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there. But don’t answer, and I don’t want you to refer back to the 1990s.”
The callback to the 1990s was an apparent reference to Bill Clinton’s extracurricular activities in the White House at the time.
As noted above, Rep. Cedric Richmond today denied that he meant anything untoward about Kellyanne Conway, the Washington Examiner noted.
“Since some people have interpreted my joke to mean something that it didn’t I think it is important to clarify what I meant. Last night was night of levity. Where I grew up saying that someone is looking or acting ‘familiar’ simply means that they are behaving too comfortably. I decided to use that joke due to the large social media backlash over her inappropriate posture considering there were more than 60 HBCU presidents in the room.”
Kellyanne Conway suggested to the Daily Caller that Rep. Richmond’s joke would have ignited a firestorm in the media if she was a pro-abortion liberal. She added that Richmond’s clarification contains no apology.
Richmond’s joke prompted a fair amount of Twitter condemnation even from Trump administration foes, but nothing compared to the initial Conway controversy about proper office decorum.
Congressman Richmond's "joke" was sexist and inappropriate and his denial of what he was suggesting is insulting. https://t.co/zHEmWGJry2
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 2, 2017
I'm a Dem. I've been super critical of @KellyannePolls.
— Mo Elleithee (@MoElleithee) March 2, 2017
Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel described Rep. Richmond’s joke or attempt at one as disgusting and offensive, along with other GOP officials who similarly called for an apology to Conway.
— Ronna RomneyMcDaniel (@RRMGOP) March 2, 2017
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, told the Independent Journal Review that “On the first day of Women’s History Month, it’s pretty sad to hear a sitting congressman say that about a woman who has made so much history.”
The Trump White House has called for an immediate apology by Rep. Richmond for the Conway comment “that was insulting to all women.”
Some Conway defenders also fired back with pictures of Obama with his feet on the historic Oval Office desk, which is called the Resolute Desk, a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 which has been in use since the Jimmy Carter administration brought it back from the Smithsonian Institution.
— Jock Doubleday (@jockdoubleday) February 28, 2017
You may recall back in the August 6, 2015, GOP debate that then-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly (and by extension, other media outlets) slammed then-candidate Donald Trump for joking in the Celebrity Apprentice boardroom about contestant Brande Roderick that “it “must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees.”
The following day on MSNBC, the former Playboy model and Baywatch star explained that Trump had always been respectful during the filming of Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars and that he was just trying to be funny for TV.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 2, 2017
The New Orleans Times-Picayune editorial page argued that Rep Cedric Richmond owes Kellyanne Conway a “real” apology. “Not one of those ‘if you were offended’ statements that are popular in Washington. He needs to own up to the ugliness, to the sexism, contained in his remark and make it plain that he’s truly sorry.”
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]