Politics

Rep. Katie Hill says she's quitting the House 'because of a double standard' for women

Key Points
  • Democratic Rep. Katie Hill is leaving Congress "because of a double standard," she says in her final speech on the floor on Thursday.
  • Hill's last day in Congress will be Friday. She says her final act in office was voting for a resolution laying out rules in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet announced the date for a special election to replace her, but at least a dozen people have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the seat.
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I am leaving now because of a double standard: Rep. Katie Hill

Democratic Rep. Katie Hill is leaving Congress "because of a double standard," she said in her final speech on the floor on Thursday.

"I'm leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality, and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse," she said. "I'm leaving because of the thousands of vile threatening emails, calls and texts" that she said were directed at her after a conservative blog released those private photos.

Hill announced on Sunday that she would resign from Congress amid allegations that she had engaged in two inappropriate relationships with subordinate employees. She admitted to having a relationship with a female campaign staffer but denied any relationship with a male congressional staffer. The allegations surfaced when a conservative blog published private images and text messages alluding to those relationships.

Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) answers questions from reporters at the U.S. Capitol following her final speech on the floor of the House of Representatives October 31, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee | Getty Images

Friday will be her last day in Congress. Her final act in office was voting for a resolution laying out formal rules in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

"Today as my final act, I voted to move forward with the impeachment of Donald Trump on behalf of the women of the United States of America," she said on the floor.

In the speech, Hill apologized to her constituents, friends, family and colleagues, and cited a slew of reasons she's leaving office. "I'm leaving because there is only one investigation that deserves the attention of this country, and that's the one we voted on today," she said, noting that allegations against President Donald Trump of sexual harassment and sexual assault were one of her prime motivators for voting to proceed in the inquiry.

Hill said she's stepping down but doesn't want "to let this experience scare off other women."

"The way to overcome this setback is for women to keep showing up, to keep running for office, to keep stepping up as leaders," she said.

"We have men who have been credibly accused of intentional acts of sexual violence" who are sitting on the Supreme Court and presiding in the Oval Office, she said.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet announced the date for a special election to replace her, but there are at least a dozen people who have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for the seat. Among those is George Papadopoulos, a former campaign aide to President Donald Trump who went to jail after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI during former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible links between the campaign and Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

"Resigning from Congress was one of the most difficult decisions of my life. But I could not allow myself to be a distraction from the constitutional crisis we are faced with and the critical work to fulfill our promises of quality healthcare, housing we can afford and a government that works for the people," the 32-year-old said in a prepared statement released on Wednesday.

In a video released Monday, following Hill's decision to resign, she promised to fight against "revenge porn," among other issues.

"I need you to know that my fight is not over," she said in the video.

"I'm going to continue to fight for our democracy, for representation, for justice and equality and for making the world a better place," she added. "And I will also take up a new fight. I will fight to make sure no one else has to live through what I just experienced."

Hill has hired Carrie Goldberg, an attorney who specializes in victims rights, to represent her while she pursues a legal remedy for the release of her private photos without her consent, NBC reported.

In a Thursday briefing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the release of the photos "shameful."

She also said what happened to Hill should be regarded as a cautionary tale.

"I do say to my own children and grandchildren, especially young children, you know, some of these — I don't know what to call them — appearances on social media can come back to haunt you if they are taken out of context and that," she said. "But I do think that we have to be careful."