The women's rights group UltraViolet on Monday added its voice to the chorus of condemnation of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after the California Republican joked how difficult it would be to not beat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the chamber's gavel should he win her job following the 2022 midterm elections.
McCarthy's comments came during a Tennessee Republican Party fundraiser on Saturday, at which he was presented with an oversized gavel.
"I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel," McCarthy said of the California Democrat, according to audio footage tweeted by Main Street Nashville reported Vivian Jones. "It'll be hard not to hit her with it."
In a statement, UltraViolet communications director Bridget Todd said that McCarthy's "comments threatening violence against Speaker Pelosi are disgraceful, misogynistic, and wholly unacceptable. It should not be lost on anyone that Minority Leader McCarthy's comments directly echo the violent online harassment, and real world violence manifested in the January 6th insurrection, that threatens the life of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a regular basis."
These statements have implications not just for the safety of Speaker Pelosi and other women in Congress, but also for all women in the form of policy. With Kevin McCarthy voting against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, it is clear that his comments are reflective of his deeply held beliefs about how women should be treated and valued.
"The fact that McCarthy has not yet apologized for his dangerous, inciting words should send a clear signal to everyone that he is not fit to serve as a member of Congress, or in any position of elected responsibility," Todd added. "He should resign."
Prominent Democrats also condemned McCarthy's remarks, with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) asserting that "America has suffered enough violence around politics" in a tweet calling for the minority leader's resignation.
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) tweeted: "Kevin McCarthy thinks joking about hitting a woman is funny. When someone shows you who they are, believe them."
The incident comes 10 months after five Democratic congresswomen—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Jackie Speier (Calif.), and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.)—introduced a House resolution urging the federal government to "adopt policies that promote women's political participation and mitigate violence against women in politics, in person and online, in the United States and abroad."
This content originally appeared on Common Dreams - Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community and was authored by Brett Wilkins.