Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is punching back after a Democratic colleague, Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.), made some controversial comments about her.
What did Cohen say?
The Tennessee Democrat was caught on audio saying he wished President Donald Trump would instruct Blackburn to jump off a local bridge, implying her loyalty to the president would force her to follow through with such a directive.
"The big orange president .... He’s going to come down here and he is going to endorse Marsha Blackburn, because Marsha Blackburn, if he says, ‘Jump off the Harahan Bridge,’ she’ll jump off the Harahan Bridge," Cohen said, according to HuffPost.
"I wish he’d say that," Cohen added, inciting laughter from the audience.
Cohen's comments came during a community prayer breakfast at a church in Memphis last month, HuffPost reported. Blackburn's opponent, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), hosted the breakfast.
However, in follow-up comments to HuffPost, Cohen claimed his remarks were only meant as a joke, and that he really did not wish Blackburn harm.
"It was obviously humor. I wish her no harm. I hope she doesn’t get the Senate. And I wish she wasn’t a lackey for Trump. But I don’t wish her physical harm," he claimed.
How did Blackburn respond?
"It's hurtful to hear that," Blackburn said on Fox News Friday.
"When you hear something like that, it is hurtful. And of course, we haven't received an apology. He did say he was 'joking' but I got to tell you, there's an old adage that my grandmother used to say, and it was: 'Never injure a friend, even in jest,'" she explained.
"I think also the fact that this was said in a church, at a prayer breakfast that, that's a little bit, that ads to it also," she added.
Blackburn also called Cohen's apology a "backhanded statement."
What did Bredesen say?
When asked for comment on Cohen's remarks, Bredesen's campaign only pointed to comments he made at the breakfast, which sought to neither attack Blackburn nor the president.
"I really don’t want [this election] to be about my opponent and who’s best and who’s worst or who’s made most mistakes, or things like that. I really want this election to be about ideas, and I want you to ask everyone to vote for the person who they think got the best ideas about how to create opportunity in Tennessee, and create opportunity in the United States of America," Bredesen said in the audio.