U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis repeatedly made disparaging comments about women during his time as a talk radio provocateur, according to a new report from CNN that includes audio of Lewis musing aloud about no longer being able to call a woman a “slut.’’
The audio also includes a take about whether women are “guided by more emotion than reason.”
“Does a woman now have the right to behave — and I know there’s a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around — you know, I’m not going to get there, but you know what I’m talking about. But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard,” said Lewis, while filling in for Rush Limbaugh. “We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can’t call her a slut?”
Lewis, a first-term Republican who represents Minnesota’s Second District, is in a tough re-election fight with Angie Craig, a former health care executive whom he defeated in 2016 by 1.8 percentage points.
Lewis’s campaign manager Becky Alery released a statement: “This has all been litigated before, and as Rep. Lewis has said time and time again, it was his job to be provocative while on the radio.”
Lewis is one of the Democrats’ top targets in a district that President Donald Trump won by a bit more than 1 percentage point, but that saw 9 percent of voters select someone other than Trump or his opponent Hillary Clinton.
Although some of Lewis’ inflammatory comments about race and women were reported during the 2016 campaign by Star Tribune blogger Michael Brodkorb and others, the comments unearthed by CNN are receiving their first wide airing.
“One of the reasons that the Democrats love the quote unquote female issue is because they know women vote more liberally than men do. Now you could say in a very, very sexist, misogynistic way that, ‘Well, that’s because women just don’t understand money. They don’t understand, they’re, they don’t handle finances. They’re guided by emotion not reason. Why, that’s why they didn’t have the vote for a full century in the country,’ ” said Lewis, according to the tapes CNN obtained.
“Well, it is true that women cast more votes for Democrats. All I’m saying, I’m not validating the stereotype. I’m married to a woman for heaven’s sakes, but I will say this: Do not, do not pander and move left to get the female vote,” he said.
Craig posted on Twitter Wednesday that she’s “deeply disappointed” by Lewis’ remarks.
“Our leaders are role models for our kids and must hold themselves to that standard.”
Alery, who called Lewis an “independent voice” for the district, invited Craig to make Lewis’ comments a part of her campaign strategy: “If extreme, radical liberal Angie Craig thinks what matters to voters are dated comments relating to changes in culture, by all means we encourage that to be the focus of her campaign.”