- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 5, 2017

A few Democrats have called on a Democratic congressman to apologize for his crude joke last week about White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, but not House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Mrs. Pelosi deflected questions posed by CNN’s Jake Tapper about tasteless comments made Wednesday at a Washington Press Club dinner by Rep. Cedric Richmond, Louisiana Democrat, taking aim instead at President Trump.

“Shouldn’t the congressman apologize to Kellyanne Conway?” Mr. Tapper said. “And, honestly, where is the Democratic Party in expressing outrage about this?”

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Mrs. Pelosi said she wasn’t at the dinner, then denounced Mr. Trump for sexist comments made in 2005 in an Access Hollywood video released during the campaign last year.

“You all are criticizing Cedric for something he said in the course of the evening. And he maybe should be criticized for that. I just don’t know the particulars,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “But do I, every day, marvel at the fact that somebody who said the gross and crude things that President Trump said, he wouldn’t even be allowed in a frat house, and he’s in the White House.”

Pressed by Mr. Tapper, who asked if Democrats risked undermining their “moral authority” by only criticizing Republicans’ sexist remarks, Mrs. Pelosi said, “I think everybody was making crude comments.”

Mr. Richmond, referring to a photo of Ms. Conway sitting on her knees on a couch in the Oval Office, cracked: “I really just want to know what was going on there, because, I won’t tell anybody. You can just explain to me that circumstance because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there.”

“But don’t answer. I don’t want you to refer back to the ‘90s,” Mr. Richmond said, an apparent reference to the Clinton White House sex scandal.

Chelsea Clinton described the joke on Twitter as “despicable” and urged Mr. Richmond to issue an apology, as did New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist Jarvis DeBerry.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, also called for the congressman to apologize, telling WAFB-TV through a spokesman that he “did not find the congressman’s comments funny or appropriate.”

Mr. Richmond issued a statement Thursday saying his joke had been misinterpreted and that, “Last night was a night of levity.”

“Where I grew up, saying that someone is looking or acting ‘familiar’ simply means that they are behaving too comfortably,” said Mr. Richmond. “I decided to use that joke due to the large social media backlash over her inappropriate posture considering there were more than 60 HBCU [historically black colleges and universities] presidents in the room.”

Howard Kurtz, host of Fox News’ “Media Buzz,” took press outlets to task Sunday for not giving the story more coverage.

“I, for one, think that kind of humor has absolutely no place, and I think it undoubtedly deserved more coverage and more criticism,” Mr. Kurtz said.

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