Days after The New York Times reported that Pat Meehan had used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by a former staffer, the Pennsylvania Republican congressman decided to give an interview to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
It, um, did not go well. There are soooooo many awkward and inappropriate things in it from Meehan -- including a letter he wrote to the woman once he found out she had a serious boyfriend.
Here's a sampling:
Meehan says he was not interested in the woman sexually. "I was a happily married man and I was not interested in a relationship, particularly not any sexual relationship, but we were soul mates. (Has no one learned ANYTHING from Mark Sanford?) After confessing his feelings to the woman, he engaged in a hug that lasted "maybe longer that night than needed to be." He acknowledges that he reacted poorly when she told him about her boyfriend. "When I discussed her boyfriend, I stated that I wished I could be better at accepting it right now but I probably needed a bit of time," admitted Meehan. He released a letter he wrote to her after that hostile reaction in which he tells her (among MANY other inappropriate things): "You are kind and sensitive and caring and infectious with your laugh. You are and have been a complete partner to me and you have brought me much happiness." In the letter, he also argues that there is more to come for the two of them. "As we travel our paths together, I am comforted that there is more unwritten," writes Meehan. He says that "in hindsight" he should have been more aware of the power dynamic between the two -- he as a member of Congress and she as a staffer. Then he offers this doozy: "There is no hierarchy -- we call it Team Meehan."
Whoa boy. Whooooooaaaaa boy.
The tone-deafness in this interview is off the charts. It reminds me most of Sanford's explanation of his secret trip to Argentina, back when he was South Carolina's governor, to engage in an affair with a woman he, too, called his "soul mate." Like Sanford, Meehan comes across most of all as lovelorn, not sorry.
He also seems to be entirely unaware of the fact that a) the woman worked for him b) he sounds like a lost little boy c) his reaction to the news that she had a boyfriend is totally and completely inappropriate and d) the woman worked for him.
Meehan insists in the interview with the Inquirer's Jonathan Tamari that he plans to run for re-election in what is a very competitive district in the Philadelphia suburbs.
And he got something of a vote of confidence on Wednesday morning from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. "Right now, we will let the investigations take place," McDaniel said on CNN's "New Day." "We will see everything that happened through the ethics investigation. And then we'll let the voters decide. It is too early to say."
My guess is that after reading Meehan's interview with the Inquirer, Republicans won't be giving him the benefit of the doubt for much longer. And by that I mean any longer.