House

CBC chair says GOP lawmaker told her ‘kiss my a–‘

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, alleged on Tuesday that GOP Rep. Hal Rogers (Ky.) told her to “kiss my ass” after she asked him to wear a mask before boarding a train in the Capitol as lawmakers headed to votes in the House chamber.

“Today, while heading to the House floor for votes, I respectfully asked my colleague @RepHalRogers to put on a mask while boarding the train. He then poked my back, demanding I get on the train. When I asked him not to touch me, he responded, ‘kiss my ass,'” Beatty wrote in a twitter thread.

“This is the kind of disrespect we have been fighting for years, and indicative of the larger issue we have with GOP Members flaunting health and safety mandates designed to keep us and our staff safe,” she added.

Rogers later apologized, calling his words “not acceptable” and adding that he apologized to Beatty.

“This afternoon, I met with Congresswoman Beatty to personally apologize. My words were not acceptable and I expressed my regret to her, first and foremost,” he said.

Just before Rogers issued his apology, the Congressional Black Caucus members held an impromptu press conference at the Capitol shortly after Beatty’s revelation, at which they accused him of harassing Beatty.

“This was harassment of a woman, a black woman, and a woman in leadership because he put his hands on her, he told her to kiss a part of his body,” Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) said at the conference. 

“And I can tell you, being a little black girl from the east side of Detroit, I would not take that standing or sitting,” Lawrence said. “And I’m not going to take it standing or sitting for one of our own to be disrespected.”

Mask mandates are currently implemented only inside the House chamber, but Democrats and Republicans have been at odds over wearing face coverings in the hallways and in lawmakers’ office buildings as a COVID-19 precaution.

Several Republican lawmakers have faced hefty fines for refusing to wear masks on the House floor, though Rogers is not among them. 

In another tweet, Beatty said, “@RepHalRogers when you are ready to grow up and apologize for your behavior, you know where to find me.”

— Updated at 5:58 p.m.

Tags Brenda Lawrence Hal Rogers Hal Rogers Joyce Beatty Washignton D.C.
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