GOP Rep. Jason Lewis mocks sexual harassment accusers in resurfaced audio: 'How traumatizing was it?'
Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) is under fire for comments made during his radio show days — again.
This time, CNN uncovered audio from 2011 that includes Lewis mocking women who at the time were accusing Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment. Lewis questioned whether the alleged harassment was really so "traumatizing," asking, "is that really something that's going to be seared in your memory that you'll need therapy for?" Two women had accused Cain of unwanted advances and suggestive remarks when he was the CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Cain denied the allegations but soon dropped out of the race.
On his show, Lewis suggested the allegations against Cain weren't such a big deal because plenty of women experience something similar in their lives. He then began mockingly imitating one of the accuser's voices and pretended to become emotional. "Come on! She wasn't raped," he said of one of the accusers. During other segments resurfaced by CNN, Lewis argued that current sexual harassment law is unconstitutional and "ridiculous" because it "distorts our free speech rights."
This is not the first time Lewis has faced criticism over comments from his old radio show, which ran from 2009 until 2014. In a clip flagged by CNN in July, he bemoaned the fact that he couldn't call young women "sluts." A representative for Lewis at the time said "it was his job to be provocative while on the radio." More recently, a law firm representing the radio network demanded that CNN "cease and desist" its use of the audio soon after CNN contacted the lawmakers' campaign for comment.
The Minnesota congressman is running for re-election this November against Democratic challenger Angie Craig in a race that the Cook Political Report classifies as a "lean Democratic."