A U.S. Congressman apologized last night for a crude “joke” about Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to President Trump.
Last Wednesday evening, at a Washington Press Club Foundation awards dinner, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond quipped that Conway “looked kind of familiar” with her knees on the couch of the White House Oval Office.
Richmond’s remarks seemed to possibly be a callback to Bill Clinton’s extracurricular activities with Monica Lewinsky in the White House when he added, “And I don’t want you to refer back to the ’90s.”
The New Orleans Democrat was alluding to the now-famous photo of Conway as she was getting ready to take pictures of President’s Trump meeting with the presidents of historically black colleges, an image that sparked viral outrage, or faux outrage, on Twitter among the ever-vigilant social justice cohort.
In the context of respect for the presidential residence/work station, some Conway defenders fired back with tweets containing 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.
A businesswoman, lawyer, and mother of four, Conway is the first woman to successfully manage a U.S. presidential campaign to victory.
Richmond’s so-called 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.
The next day, Richmond, who currently serves as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, initially denied that he meant anything untoward about Kellyanne Conway and tried to explain it away, 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.”
In an interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, CNN anchor Jake Tapper described Richmond’s remarks as sexist and disgusting. Pelosi was noncommittal as to whether an apology was appropriate, adding that she was not in attendance at the event, the Washington Post detailed.
“His comment had placed Democrats in the difficult position of having to deal with a sexist comment from one of their own while attacking their GOP opponents over women’s issues, even as Republicans condemned the remark,” the Washington Times observed.
Given the negative reaction from political leaders on both sides of the aisle, media pundits, and even Chelsea Clinton (who called the joke “despicable”), however, Rep. Richmond apparently concluded that his initial clarification wouldn’t fly and issued a new one, Baton Rouge CBS affiliate WAFB reported.
“After a discussion with people I know and trust I understand the way my remarks have been received by many. I have consistently been a champion for women and women’s issues, and because of that the last thing I would want to ever do is utter words that would hurt or demean them. I apologize to Kellyanne Conway and everyone who has found my comments to be offensive.”
“The Louisiana Democrat seemed to imply in his statement that his apology was needed only because of the way his comments were ‘received,’ rather than because he said them,” The Daily Caller claimed about what it called an apology of sorts.
Last week, 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 at the time that Cedric Richmond’s clarification contained no apology.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]