Republican senator Roger Wicker is facing criticism after being recorded on camera calling underage teenagers “beautiful girls.” The Mississippi senator made the comments during Monday’s vote to stop the government shutdown with a temporary funding bill.
According to a statement from Wicker’s spokesman, his comment was a response to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who observed that a Senate page was from one of the most beautiful places in the country. Footage from C-Span shows that Wicker clearly replied, while signaling toward a group of girls, “I thought you were going to say this was one of the most beautiful girls. What about these others?” Booker laughed, but his reply wasn’t clear.
Social media isn’t taking the recording lightly, though. While some call Wicker’s behavior “creepy” and gesture toward the Time’s Up movement, others are saying he won’t be held accountable. Some progressives are eyeing his Senate seat.
Wicker’s comments follow the second annual Women’s March on Jan. 20, and a handful of sexual assault scandals concerning senior politicians. Several women have accused former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who ran as the 2017 Republican Senator nominee in the Alabama special election, of sexual misconduct. In Dec., Democratic Sen. Al Franken abdicated after half a dozen women claimed he tried to forcibly kiss or grope them.