A Democratic state lawmaker in Arizona has apologized for making a “disturbing” comment about wanting to inflict violence upon a female Republican state senator.
The Democrat’s comment came as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed into law GOP state Sen. Debbie Lesko’s bill to expand the state’s education voucher program. Lesko’s bill, Senate Bill 1431, will make school choice available not just for underprivileged students, as is currently the case, but for all public and charter school students over the next four years, according to the Arizona Republic.
Following the passage of her bill, Lesko took what was effectively a victory lap around the state capitol in Phoenix.
State Rep. Jesus Rubalcava, a Democrat who opposed the bill, didn’t exactly take the defeat in stride.
Rubalcava took to his personal Facebook page, where he responded to a commenter who saw Lesko’s “thank you tour” as “slightly enraging.”
“I wanted to punch her in the throat,” Rubalcava replied to the comment.
The Democratic lawmaker later deleted the comment, but not before the Arizona Republic captured a screenshot.
— Constantin Querard (@CQuerard) April 12, 2017
Rubalcava took to the floor of the state of House of Representatives to apologize, where he called his remarks “unprofessional” and “unacceptable.”
“I want this body to know that I have apologized to Sen. Debbie Lesko for my comment, and I sincerely apologize, I want this body to know,” Rubalcava said, the Arizona Republic reported.
Lesko, who is a survivor of domestic violence, said she was initially unfazed by Rubalcava’s words. Then she pondered it some more.
“The more time that I’ve had to think … it’s kind of disturbing. I don’t know if [Rubalcava] has violent tendencies or what,” Lesko said, according to the Arizona Republic. “As a survivor of domestic violence from a previous marriage, Rep. Rubalcava’s Facebook post saying ‘I wanted to punch her in the throat’ was very disturbing and totally inappropriate, especially since he is an elementary school teacher and legislator.”
“I hope in the future that he debates issues based on their merit in a civil manner,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Arizona has called on Rubalcava to resign in the wake of his comments.
In a statement issued Thursday, Arizona Republican Party communications director Torunn Sinclair said:
Representative Jesus Rubalcava’s threats aimed at Senator Debbie Lesko are absolutely reprehensible. They reflect his character and severe lack of judgment. His apology got one thing right — his actions are unacceptable. Arizonans should not tolerate this type of behavior so unbecoming of an elected official. Commenting on a Facebook post saying you want to punch a female colleague in the throat is despicable. In fact, in most jobs, that would get you fired. Representative Rubalcava should take greater responsibility for his actions. He should resign.
(H/T: Fox News)