Joe Garcia, the former Miami Democratic congressman running for his old seat, told supporters in a candid moment over the weekend that Hillary Clinton “is under no illusions that you want to have sex with her, or that she’s going to seduce you.”
Unknown to Garcia, one of his “supporters” was really a tracker — a political campaign spy — secretly recording him as he spoke informally at a Key West Democratic campaign office opening Saturday. Yes, there’s video.
Late Tuesday, after the Miami Herald obtained the video and he initially tried to explain himself, Garcia apologized for his remarks.
The video — recorded upside down as if a cellphone was in the tracker’s hand — showed Garcia standing in an office hallway with a few other men, apparently before Garcia was scheduled to address the full crowd. Clinton signs decorate some of the walls.
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“I believe that we’re going to have — I’ll mention it when I speak — I believe we’re about to see the most consequential presidency that we’ve seen since Lyndon Johnson,” Garcia said on the recording. “This is not because I think Hillary Clinton is the greatest ever. But I do believe she is extremely, exceedingly competent, and she — I know this is going to sound weird to you, but to me, as somebody who studies history, she’s going to be very similar to Lyndon Johnson.
“Lyndon Johnson wasn’t a particularly charming man, wasn’t a particularly nice man: He would ask you nice, and then when you didn’t do it, he made you do it,” Garcia continued. “And Hillary is under no illusions that you want to have sex with her, or that she’s going to seduce you, or out-think you.”
One of the men in the hallway then made an inaudible comment.
“I don’t want to be offensive to women,” Garcia responded. “What I’m talking about is exactly that: It’s getting it done. Unlike Obama, who has this profound sense that logic can move people — it can’t move crazy. That’s trending in the Republican Party.”
Garcia’s first reaction to the Herald late Tuesday was to provide a statement saying he “fully supports Hillary Clinton for president, and I’m confident she will be one of our country’s most effective presidents.”
“I believe Secretary Clinton is the most competent and qualified presidential candidate in the history of this country, man or woman,” he said. “My comments speak to Secretary Clinton’s focus on getting things done, and not on the gender stereotypes and biases women in public life are frequently subjected to.”
Several hours later, Garcia issued a second statement — this time expressing regret.
“I apologize for my poorly worded comment about Secretary Clinton,” he said. “My comments were intended to speak to Secretary Clinton’s relentless focus on getting the job done, despite the unjust gender stereotypes and biases women in public life are subjected to.”
Republicans eager to defend Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo in the competitive 26th congressional district, cast Garcia’s remark as embarrassing.
“It’s shameful and disgusting that Joe Garcia would describe Hillary Clinton’s qualifications to serve as president in terms of whether or not he would have sexual relations with her,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Martin said in a statement.
“It’s time for national Democrats to answer whether they are going to support a sexist candidate like Joe Garcia who would say such sexually disparaging things about the first-ever female Democratic nominee for president of the United States.”