Rep says she used rolled-up newspaper to fight off colleague’s advances

Rep says she used rolled-up newspaper to fight off colleague’s advances
© Greg Nash

Rep. Betty McCollumBetty Louise McCollumFour Minneapolis officers involved in death of unarmed black man fired Administration rolls back pollution standards amid a global pandemic Democratic candidates gear up for a dramatic Super Tuesday MORE (D-Minn.) said she once fought off another lawmaker’s advances using a rolled-up newspaper.

McCollum told The Star Tribune that she used the paper to stop another member of Congress from giving her an unwanted hug in the House cloakroom.

“ ‘What the hell are you doing? Go away!’ ” the lawmaker recounted saying to the congressman.


She said other lawmakers watched and laughed at the pair as she used the newspaper against him.

“I sort of handled it with humor, but it was very clear,” McCollum said. “He never bothered me again.”

The representative said she’s shut down advances from at least two members of Congress since she was elected to her seat in 2001, but that neither of them remain in office.

“There were two members who, I thought, were very inappropriate in the way they were addressing me, [or] thinking that I wanted a hug,” McCollum told the paper.

McCollum’s comments come as more female lawmakers share stories of sexual harassment in Congress. Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanLobbying world John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America House Democrat calls for halt to lawmakers sleeping in their offices MORE announced Wednesday that the House would require mandatory anti-sexual harassment training.

The announcement came just hours after the House Administration Committee held a hearing about sexual harassment in Congress. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) revealed at that hearing that two current lawmakers have been accused of sexual harassment.

McCollum went public with her story one day before radio host Leeann Tweeden accused Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations MORE (D-Minn.) of kissing and groping her without her consent in 2006, and provided a photo of Franken groping her while she was asleep.

Franken apologized for the incident and called for an ethics investigation into his own behavior.