RSC chief calls women in group 'eye candy'

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), on Tuesday described women in his conservative caucus as the group's "eye candy."

Walker made the remark, about two minutes into his presentation outside the Capitol, as other members of the group prepared to talk about their priorities, and as Walker promised that the large group of GOP lawmakers would take a more public role in national debates.

"The accomplished men and women of the RSC. And women. If it wasn’t sexist, I would say the RSC eye candy, but we'll leave that out of the record, are not attention seekers," Walker said.

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His gender-specific joke, however, rubbed some social media users the wrong way, leading to calls that the remark was sexist.

The Republican lawmaker also said the group of nearly 160 members that includes 17 of the 20 House chairmen "must become more vocal and visible" and had no alternative but to become more proactive.

Walker later walked back on his "eye candy" comment, calling it "a flippant remark" while praising the women in the group.

“During a press event today, I made a flippant remark meant to be light hearted but fell short. I'm proud of the women who serve in our RSC leadership,” Walker said in a statement about two hours after making the remarks. 

- Updated: 3:44 p.m.