Outgoing Democratic Rep. Katie Hill of California gave her farewell address on the House floor Thursday afternoon, and among the several reasons for her departure, she blamed a "right wing media," "a misogynistic culture," and "a double standard."
Hill's saga began last month when RedState reported that she had been involved in a two-year "throuple" involving a campaign staffer. The story was published with text messages and a link to a censored photo of Hill brushing the staffer's hair while naked. Another photo later published by the Daily Mail showed Hill naked and holding a bong.
She announced her resignation, however, just days after news broke that she was facing an ethics investigation for an alleged sexual relationship with one of her Capitol Hill staffers, which would be a violation of House rules, which were changed in 2018. The day after she announced her resignation, she put out a video message decrying a "coordinated campaign carried out by the right wing media and Republican opponents enabling and perpetuating my husband's abuse by providing him a platform is disgusting and unforgivable, and they will be held accountable."
As she gave her goodbye from the House floor on Thursday, Hill, 32, had both apologies to make and blame to assign.
"This is the last speech that I will give on this floor as a member of Congress," Hill began. "I wasn't ready for my time here to come to an end so soon; it's a reality I'm still grappling with and I will be for a long time to come."
About halfway through the speech, the California Democrat said while she "will never shirk my responsibility for this sudden ending to my time here," that she had to say more on the issue because "this is bigger than me":
I am leaving now because of a double standard. I am leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip. I'm leaving because I didn't want to be peddled by papers and blogs and websites, used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics that I've ever seen and the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photos of me, taken without my knowledge — let alone my consent — for the sexual entertainment of millions. I'm leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexual assault and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.
Hill also said, after the publication of the photos, she received "thousands of vile, threatening emails, calls and texts that made me fear for my life and the lives of the people that I care about." The congresswoman also apologized for "the mistakes I've made and the people I've hurt":
To every young person who saw themselves and their dreams reflected in me, I'm sorry. To those who felt like I gave them hope in one of the darkest times in our nation's history, I'm sorry. To my family, my friends, my staff, my colleagues, my mentors, to everyone who has supported and believed in me, I'm sorry. To the thousands of people who spent hours knocking on doors in the hot summer sun, who made countless phone calls, who sacrificed more than I could ever know to give everything they could in every possible way so that I could be here, I am so, so sorry. And to every little girl who looked up to me, I hope that one day you can forgive me.