By Eric Bradner
WASHINGTON (CNN) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declined on Sunday to criticize a fellow Democrat’s crude joke about top Donald Trump aide Kellyanne Conway.
In an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Jake Tapper asked Pelosi about a joke Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond told at the Washington Press Club Foundation’s congressional dinner last week about a photo showing Conway on her knees on an Oval Office sofa.
In his joke, Richmond seemed to allude to President Bill Clinton’s extramarital affair with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office.
“I really just want to know what was going on there, because, you know, I won’t tell anybody,” Richmond said. “And you can just explain to me that circumstance — because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there. Don’t answer — and I don’t want you to refer back to the 1990s.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel called Richmond’s remark “disgusting” and “offensive” in a tweet.
Chelsea Clinton also tweeted out criticisms of the remarks, calling them “despicable” and saying he should apologize to Conway.
On Sunday, Tapper asked Pelosi if Richmond did owe Conway an apology. But the California Democrat deflected, saying she wasn’t aware of the video, despite widespread coverage in recent days.
“Well, I wasn’t at the dinner. I’m just finding out about this,” she said before pivoting to discussing a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women by grabbing their genitals without permission.
Tapper pressed Pelosi on whether Democrats cede the moral high ground by failing to rebuke a member of their own party for such an off-color remark.
“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,” Pelosi said. “But I do, 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.”
Pelosi also suggested that Richmond’s remark fit within the context of the evening, but said she wasn’t there to hear it.
“I think everybody was making crude comments,” she said. “And I just — I just don’t know. I wasn’t at that dinner.”
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