Criticism erupts from both sides after congressman's KellyAnne couch comments

Criticism erupts from both sides after congressman's KellyAnne couch comments

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A viral picture taken in the Oval Office now has local implications.

On Tuesday, press members snapped a photo of President Donald Trump's aid Kellyanne Conway perched on the Oval Office couch after taking her own picture of a meeting with 60 historically black college and university (HBCU) presidents.

Criticism was quickly thrown in Conway's direction, and at a Washington D.C. event on Wednesday, South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott came to Conway's defense.

"Has anyone seen the controversy around Kellyanne Conway and the couch in the Oval Office? Come on, people. You remember the 90's? That couch has had a whole lot of worse things," Scott said.

The 90s mention refers to the sex scandal involving White House intern Monica Lewinsky and former President Bill Clinton.

Louisiana Representative and Congressional Black Caucus Leader Cedric Richmond followed Scott's reaction at Wednesday's event.

"You even mention KellyAnne and the picture on the sofa. But I really just want to know what was going on there because, you know, I won't tell anybody," Richmond said. "You can just explain to me that - that circumstance, because she really looked kind of familiar in that position there, but don't answer. And I don't want you to refer back to the 90s."

The congressman's choice of words drew harsh criticism from the state's top official. On Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards' office released a statement saying Richmond should apologize. He said he did not find the comments funny or appropriate.

Richmond did not apologize and instead released a statement saying his joke was taken out of context.

"Since some people have interpreted my joke to mean something that it didn't, I think it is important to clarify what I meant," he said in the statement. "Last night was night of levity. Where I grew up saying that someone is looking or acting 'familiar' simply means that they are behaving too comfortably. I decided to use that joke due to the large social media backlash over her inappropriate posture considering there were more than 60 HBCU presidents in the room."

"In this situation, her actions are just as inappropriate maybe as the comments that some women are getting upset about," local women's advocate and Democratic strategist Cheron Brylski said.

When asked of her response to no woman being discriminated upon based on their dress or how they sit on a couch, Brylski said she believes Conway's posture on the couch is just as offensive as congressman's remarks.

"KellyAnne Conway first of all is a grown up. She is totally acting inappropriate in a public meeting on behalf of the man she works for," Brylski said.

FOX 8 reached out to several state Republican and Democrat leaders for a comment, but none wanted to comment - even though the state has recently dealt with its own questions of sexism at the state level. Most recently, lawmakers threw dollar bills on the house floor when talking about a bill that would put a weight limit on exotic dancers, and a cake was brought to the Capitol that depicted a woman's body in a bikini.

"So the first response is yikes! Political humor is really difficult to pull off," FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said.

Sherman believes that by coming out to clarify his remarks, Richmond's political career won't be harmed.

"In the wake of some political humor gone awry, Kenny Havard doubled down in Louisiana on his comments about the weight of strippers in the Louisiana Legislature. Congressman Richmond taking a hugely different approach trying to correct the record today so the response to a political joke gone awry makes all the difference," Sherman said.

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