Senate GOP Harassment Deflection Goes Completely Insane

UPDATE: So as we understand it, Republican Colorado Senators find discussion of sexual matters in explicit terms offensive:

Apparently that outrage is a bit, you know, selective.

Yes gentle readers, things got very stupid very fast today! Sorry to transgress anyone’s conveniently sudden Mike Pence modesty, but our lawmakers are grownups, and sexual harassment is necessarily a grownup topic. Let’s go ahead and let grownups have the grownup discussions that are unfortunately necessary.

For example, there’s a resolution to expel Sen. Randy Baumgardner.


Sen. Daniel Kagan (D).

As the Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, the daily barrage of bad press over the GOP-controlled Colorado Senate’s refusal to punish three Republican Senators who have been credibly accused of sexual harassment has finally provoked a response from Republicans.

A response that has us sincerely wondering who, if anyone, is in charge over there:

A Democratic state senator’s graphic speech last week on sexual harassment at the Colorado Capitol is drawing anger from across the aisle, with Republicans criticizing his explicit language and expressing alarm over the male lawmaker’s presence in a women’s restroom.

The legislator, state Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, said he made an honest mistake — once — last year as a freshman member of the Senate when he entered an unmarked bathroom. He says Republicans are trying to deflect from sexual harassment allegations against their own.

“They’re more than overblowing it,” Kagan said in response. “They are trying to make a zeppelin out of it. This was an innocent mistake and it is really beneath the dignity of the Senate to start trying to, firstly, misrepresent, or should I say, lie, that this happened more than once … and to try and blow it up like this is reprehensible.”

Marianne Goodland at the former Colorado Statesman:

Grantham called Kagan’s trip to the microphone “hypocrisy” and his remarks “despicable.” People came to him after the remarks, visibly shaken and emotionally upset over what they heard, Grantham said.

“This is coming from an individual who is known to habitually frequent the women’s restroom,” he said.

Senate Minority Leader Lucia Guzman, a Democrat from Denver, said in a statement Monday: “Last year — his first in the Senate — Sen. Kagan accidentally used the wrong bathroom near the Senate floor. These bathrooms are unmarked and do not say ‘men’ or ‘women’ on their doors, so it’s common for people new to the Senate to enter the wrong one by mistake.

“There is absolutely no equivalence to Sen. Baumgardner using his position of power to repeatedly, physically harass a legislative aide. This accusation is a shameful attempt by Republicans to distract from very real incidents of sexual harassment at the Capitol.”

The Post story includes photos of the exterior doors to the two bathrooms located near the Senate in the Colorado Capitol. It’s a correct statement that neither of the two bathrooms are identified as gender-specific, or for that matter as bathrooms at all. It’s a mistake that anyone could make once, which is all Kagan claims occurred. If Republicans have any evidence that Kagan used the wrong bathroom “habitually,” they didn’t make it available for reporters today. And given the nature of the allegation, they should have.

And that’s where this contrived outrage breaks down for Senate Republicans. What we have here is a situation in which a Democratic Senator is accused of offending fellow Senators’ sensibilities by graphically discussing sexual harassment after multiple Republican Senators have been accused of committing sexual harassment–and escalating with a lurid kicker that may actually be slanderous.

Not only does this fail to absolve accused Republicans, it demonstrates to us they don’t have a clue how bad any of what they’re doing looks. It makes some sense if you consider that Senate President Kevin Grantham have been in a bunker mentality for weeks now over credible, thoroughly investigated allegations of sexual harassment against at least three members of his caucus. When you’re in the depths of a public relations nightmare, any deflection seems good at first glance.

But this tawdry smearing of Sen. Kagan does not get Randy Baumgardner or “Handsy” Jack Tate off the hook.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    Q: Who is in charge of the Colorado Senate?

    A: Not Kevin Grantham

  2. Voyageur says:

    Anybody here ever walk into the wrong bathroom?  I did, and the stars stayed in their firmaments.

    • unnamed says:

      I did once.  It was cataclysmic.  Kevin Grantham told me so.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Occasionally. The sight of urinals in a line usually sends me screaming back out into the hall. No wonder men are weird.

      If women had to pee communally like that, I suppose we'd all be covertly comparing our junk, too.

    • Davie says:

      Isn't it the Dark Horse in Boulder that labels the doors with the gender, but with a hand pointing to the opposite door?  Back when people had a sense of humor, even about politics. (It’s been 30 years since I ate there and fell for the gag)

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        I haven't been in the Dark Horse for quite a few years, but more recent than 30. I was in the mens' room there once when a woman came out of a stall and royally bitched me out for being in the wrong bathroom. Guess she didn't notice the long urinal.

    • allyncooper says:

      Guilty (male here).  That being said, why isn't there proper signage on the bathrooms?  That's a Code requirement. Since Grantham's in charge of the Senate tell him to go to Home Depot and get some friggin' signage or be cited by the City and County of Denver Building Dept.

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        And “waste” taxpayers money that could be better spent on tax cuts? . . . 

        As a general rule, don’t governmental institutions generally exempt themselves from governance??

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          But remember, the GOP is big on folks using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender of birth. I would think this would be a major priority for them.

          Moderatus, can you shed some light on why there are no signs on the doors? After all, isn’t fair notice an integral part of due process?

          • mamajama55 says:

            Maybe that's why Chaps is so hung up on bathroom gender signage. Poor man, he was probably just "holding it" for the two years he was in the legislature, since there was no manly sign on the door.

            He was interviewed by the Daily Show in 2016 about the  Transgender Bathroom Demon Takeover. (Klingenschmitt comes on at about 2:44 in the Daily Show video.


        • allyncooper says:

          2015 UPC (Uniform Plumbing Code)

          2902.4 Signage

          Required public facilities shall be provided with signs that designate the sex as required by Section 2902.2. Signs shall be readily visible and located near the entrance to each toilet facility. Signs for accessible toilet facilities shall comply with Section 1111.

  3. Mike W. says:

    I think we can all come to the conclusion that Sen. Grantham has himself knowingly harassed at least one individual in his life. His reluctance to treat this issue with a shred of dignity or decorum is proof enough, and he is simply covering his own tracks at this point. 

  4. Zappatero says:

    Knowing the level of intellect and sophistication of many of these legislators I’m surprised their bathrooms aren’t marked “Cowboys” and “Cowgirls”. 

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Is anyone here really surprised that a Republican majority would elect such a bottomless putz to lead the Senate? . . .

    . . . Snidley’s very much like Trump in that you know it’s only going to get worse, but you can’t hardly stand to imagine how that could possibly be so???

  6. gertie97 says:

    What is it about Republicans and bathrooms?

  7. doremi says:

    Your story starts out naming THREE Republican senators, but only lists Baumgardner  (remember how he got into office by the work of Dudley Brown, et al.'s gaybashing ads….guess we know Baumgardner's more into relationships with females, just doesn't seem to understand the boundaries) and Tate.

    Who is the third?  I've been told by a lobbyist friend of a third R senator against whom sexual harrassment charges have been lodged, but haven't seen it in the news.

  8. doremi says:

    Yes, I too (a female) incorrectly used a men's restroom at a restaurant in Houston once. 

    Didn't notice until I was washing my hands and saw the urinals.  Yikes….couldn't escape fast enough…but I was caught by a father and son coming in.  "Sorry."

    You may remember the time in Houston when  women were arrested for using the men's bathroom at a sporting venue where there were extremely long lines for the women's room and none for the men's.




    • allyncooper says:

      In the 80's there was a bar in Glendale that got so crowded weekends women would come into the men's room and use the stalls and the men would just "keep it close" to the urinals. It actually worked pretty well, alleviated the long lines at the women's room, everyone stayed chill about it.

  9. RepealAndReplace says:

    Good God, the sight of Lundberg and the sound of his voice is enough to kill anyone's interest in sex.  

    I was particularly impressed by his (mis) pronunciation of the word "vaginal."

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