GOP rep defends ‘slut’ comments dug up by CNN from 2012 radio show

GOP rep defends ‘slut’ comments dug up by CNN from 2012 radio show
Rep Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) defended himself against criticism over controversial comments he made about women on a radio show in 2012. (Image source: YouTube video screenshot)

A Minnesota congressman was forced to answer for controversial comments he made as a radio host several years ago after CNN brought them to light in a Wednesday report — and he didn’t back away from what he said, according to The Hill.

Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) mused about why he couldn’t call a woman a “slut” for her sexual behavior while he was a host his own radio show in 2012.

In his defense, Lewis pointed to the difference between being a radio host and a politician.

“That’s what you’re supposed to do on talk radio,” Lewis said on WCCO radio on Thursday. “And if you’re provocative when you do it, well, that’s part of our job. I presume, you know, the people that are running with this story are looking for ratings as well. So, it’s kind of sad that it’s come back to this, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.”

What did he say?

Lewis’s comments came as he was discussing an incident from Feb. 2012, when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” after she testified about high prices of birth control and said religious institutions’ health insurance should cover those costs. Lewis questioned why such a description was considered improper.

“Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment. 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. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days were a woman can behave as a slut, but you can’t call her a slut?”

Lewis regularly filled in for Limbaugh on his national radio show, according to CNN.

Lewis stands by what he said

Lewis maintains that the rhetorical point of his comments remains relevant.

“Look, a rhetorical discussion about the cultural changes and whether we can hold anyone, male or female, to standards made for an interesting hour, made for an interesting rhetorical discussion,” Lewis said.

The congressman also pointed out the unfairness of digging up old comments from when he had a different job, and holding it against him now.

“There’s a difference between a politician and a pundit,” Lewis said. That’s why going back six years, eight years, 10 years, 15 years, misses the point. There’s a different role.”

Lewis is facing a difficult midterm challenge for Minnesota’s 2nd District seat. He narrowly defeated Democrat Angie Craig to be elected in 2016, and his race is considered a toss-up this time around, with Craig again as his challenger.