Outgoing Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) gave her final speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday where she decried a “double standard” for powerful women and contended that her vote to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump was in defiance of his “abuse of power over women.”
“I am leaving, but we have men who have been credibly accused of intentional acts of sexual violence and remain in boardrooms, on the Supreme Court, in this very body, and worst of all, in the Oval Office,” Hill said in her final remarks before leaving Congress. “So, the fight goes on to create the change that every woman and girl in this country deserves.”
Once considered a rising star of the party, the California congresswoman announced her resignation from Congress on Sunday amid an ethics probe into allegations that she had an affair with her congressional staffer, in violation of House rules. Despite published text messages, Hill denied the relationship, but subsequently admitted to a relationship with a campaign staffer.
However, Hill, many of her Democratic colleagues, and members of the media have portrayed the freshman lawmaker as a victim of so-called “revenge porn” for a slew of private photographs that were widely circulated after the story of her affair surfaced.
“The forces of revenge by a bitter, jealous man, cyber exploitation and sexual shaming that target our gender and a large segment of society that fears and hates powerful women have combined to push a young woman out of power and say that she doesn’t belong here,” Hill said. “Yet, a man who brags about his sexual predation, who has had dozens of women come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, who pushes policies that are uniquely harmful to women, and who has filled the courts with judges who proudly rule to deprive women of the most fundamental rights to control their own bodies sits in the highest office in the land.”
“And so today, as my last vote I voted on impeachment proceedings, not just because of corruption, obstruction of justice, or gross misconduct, but because of the deepest abuse of power, including the abuse of power over women,” she continued. “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. We will not stand down.”
Accordingly, less than two ours prior to her farewell speech, Hill voted in favor of a resolution establishing the process for the Democrat-led impeachment investigation into the president. The measure passed largely along party lines, 232-196, with only two Democrats defecting on the vote.
“I am leaving now because of a double standard. I am leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip,” Hill said. “I’m leaving because I didn’t want to be peddled by papers and blogs and websites used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics I’ve ever seen, and the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photographs of me taken without my knowledge, let alone my consent, for the sexual entertainment of millions.”
“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, this time with the entire country watching,” she added.