Massa: some tickling, nothing sexual, and it’s about healthcare vote
One day after resigning as a freshman congressman from Upstate New York, Eric Massa has found his 15 minutes of fame.
He landed on two major talk shows Tuesday — Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck and CNN’s Larry King — and they both wanted to know about allegations of sexual harrassment against male staffers.
Larry King asked him outright if he was gay. Massa, who is married, said it was an insult to every gay American that such a question was being asked in this day and age, and he refused to answer it.
Glenn Beck wanted Massa to name names in his allegations of a conspiracy to oust him from Congress. When the talk show host didn’t succeed in eliciting the answers he was seeking, he apologized to his audience for wasting their time with the interview.
The following are some highlights from the Massa interviews.
“Now they’re saying I groped a male staffer – yeah I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe. Then four guys jumped on top of me,” Massa told Beck. “It was my 50th birthday. It was ‘kill the old guy.’ You can take anything out of context.”
He later said: “I did nothing sexual. I did some things wrong.”
Massa told King that he had not known that the allegations were forwarded to the House Ethics Committee by his former deputy chief of staff — a man who had lived with his family and was one of his wife’s best friends. When King asked several times why the former congressman did not call the former staffer to find out what it was all about, Massa said he didn’t have the number any more.
At one point, Massa said the main reason he resigned was because of health concerns. At another, he said Democratic leadership wanted him gone because he didn’t support their healthcare reform. When pressed, Massa said he forced himself out.
“I am in trouble because I’m a Democrat standing up to a horrific mistake that we’re about to make, period,” Massa told King. “You end up bucking your party, you’re out.”
“That’s absurd,” House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said, when asked about Massa contending he was being pushed out. “That is really untrue. Absolutely, definitively, untrue.”
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Photo credit: Reuters/massa.house.gov/handout (Massa)