Republican wants more Massa exposure but Democrat says it’s over
House Republican Eric Cantor thinks Congress should get to the bottom of Eric Massa’s bizarre tale of congressional nudity, satanic White House advisers, the groping of men (or not) and a congressional healthcare putsch by Democrats. But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the case is over.
“I know that Steny joins me in hoping that the ethics committee in Congress looks into this adequately and can get to the bottom of all of this,” said Cantor, who appeared along with Hoyer on NBC’s Today show. “The best place for this to be resolved is in the ethics committee and let’s get to the bottom of it.”
Otherwise, the whole thing seems to make Cantor want to hold his nose. And he is not alone. “I’m a little taken aback and stunned,” the Virginia lawmaker confided. “I don’t know the facts of this at all. I know that the American people are sickened.”
Massa’s descriptions of the events that led him to the exit door have become a spectator sport with more back-and-forth grunting than professional tennis. And with only one player.
He did, or didn’t, leave because of his health. Did or didn’t grope a male staffer. Did or didn’t jump ship to avoid an ethics probe into sexual harassment claims. Did have a close encounter with a naked Rahm Emanuel. Did decide that Emanuel’s a blood relative of Satan. Did get pushed from office by a White House infuriated over his refusal to back the Obama healthcare reform plan.
Or did he? Hoyer describes only one chain of events leading to Massa’s departure, and relatively speaking, his account sounds pretty realistic if only by virtue of its plainness.
Hoyer’s office learned of the harassment claims on Feb. 8 and strongly advised the young man in question to go to the ethics committee. In fact, Hoyer may have applied some pressure. But not the kind Massa likes to talk about.
“I said further: ‘If you don’t make the complaint, I will.’ And within the next 48 hours, I was told that, in fact, they had contacted the ethics committee,” Hoyer recalled.
“Within three weeks, as you know, the congressman decided that the charges that were pending, or the situation that existed, was serious enough that he was going to resign.”
Did Democrats try to oust Massa? “Absolutely not. Period.”
And what about the need for further investigation? “This was a situation that needed to be dealt with immediately. And it was, and action has been taken, and the member is now not in Congress.”
Photo Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (House Ethics Committee room); Reuters/Official Handout (Eric Massa)
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