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Republican Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky says that he apologized to Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio on Tuesday.
Beatty, who serves as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, had accused Rogers of poking her and telling her to “kiss my ass.”
“This afternoon, I met with @RepBeatty to personally apologize. My words were not acceptable and I expressed my regret to her, first and foremost,” Rogers tweeted.
Rogers is a veteran lawmaker who has been in office for more than 40 years.
Rogers was not wearing a mask when he boarded an elevator, according to the Associated Press — Beatty told the outlet during an interview that Rogers begrudgingly complied after she asked him to don a mask. The AP said that the lawmakers met again when entering a train, and Beatty again asked Rogers to wear a mask.
“Today, while heading to the House floor for votes, I respectfully asked my colleague @RepHalRogers to put on a mask while boarding the train. He then poked my back, demanding I get on the train. When I asked him not to touch me, he responded, ‘kiss my ass,'” Beatty tweeted. “@RepHalRogers, when you are ready to grow up and apologize for your behavior, you know where to find me,” she said in another tweet.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a press conference on Tuesday, and lawmakers condemned Rogers for the behavior Beatty had described. “I will not give Hal Rogers a pass,” Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida said. She described the Republican’s behavior as “racist” and decried it as “totally unacceptable.”