On Monday, CQ Roll Call’s Amelia Frappoli caught Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker saying something interesting on a hot mic.
Hmm! Let’s roll the tape:
Wicker was chatting with Democrat Cory Booker. A spokesman for Wicker told the New York Daily News that his comments were “meant as a light-hearted jest.”
Wicker was speaking to Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who mentioned one page a was from one of the most beautiful places in the country, according a statement issued by the Mississippi senator’s spokesperson Ryan Taylor.
“I thought you were going to say this was one of the most beautiful girls. What about these others?” Wicker said, gesticulating in a lively manner toward a group of female Senate pages, a C-SPAN video recording shows. Booker appeared to laugh in response.
Sure, just an innocent jest told by a 66-year-old man about the relative attractiveness of a group of high school girls! Sure!
Perhaps this was an innocent misunderstanding by the Mississippi Republican, as his office says. But given the number of sexual harassment cases that have come out of the U.S. Capitol in the past few months, you’d think members of Congress would approach their jobs with extra tact. You’d also think sitting U.S. congressmen might be a little wary about making creepy (or even creepy-adjacent) remarks about pages, given that a member of Congress resigned in disgrace after making repeated sexual advances toward male pages.
“Avoid ogling teenagers” shouldn’t be that big of an ask for anyone, let alone someone elected to serve in the nation’s most esteemed legislative body. But I eagerly await your comments about why I’m being a prude, and why this is acceptable workplace behavior.