On Wednesday, CNN published a report spotlighting the barrage of sexist comments about women that Republican congressman Jason Lewis made on his radio show over the years — and they're shocking. The Jason Lewis Show ran from 2009 to 2014, and in that time, the remarks Lewis made included bemoaning that women couldn't be called "sluts" anymore and saying that "young single women" who vote based on contraceptive coverage weren't human beings.
The CNN report comes after Michael Brodkorb, who was previously the chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, provided CNN with the clips which were then uploaded to CNN's KFile Soundcloud. In one of the recordings, Lewis can be heard vilifying feminist activist and then-Georgetown student Sandra Fluke in 2012.
While referring to Fluke, who was at the center of a hearing to a Democratic congressional group on the issue of birth control coverage, Lewis expressed displeasure with the possibility that there could be backlash to him calling women misogynistic slurs. This was right after conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh called Fluke a "slut."
"Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment," Lewis said. "Does a woman now have the right to behave — and I know there's a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around — you know, I'm not going to get there, but you know what I'm talking about. But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women."
He added, "Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can't call her a slut?"
In another recording from his radio show, Lewis stereotyped women as liberal voters saying, "We all know that women tend to vote more liberal than men. It is the women who are guided by more emotion than reason. 'Oh, here we go, stereotyping, stereotyping females once again. What are you doing?' Well, I'm not running for anything. I'm just making an observation."
In yet another recording from his show, Lewis said women who vote based on birth control coverage have no brains and aren't human:
You can be bought off for that? I mean, boy, that's the, all the other issues: the Hispanic problem, social issues, class warfare, you know, we can figure out a way to tackle those. This one, if you're that far down the road and you say you're a human being, I've got my suspicions. You're not, you're without a brain. You have no, you have no cognitive function whatsoever. If that's all it takes to buy you off.
This won't be the first time that Lewis has come under heat for his appalling views. In 2016, Brodkorb highlighted Lewis' past comments on slavery in an article. In Lewis' audiobook Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States' Rights, he said, "In fact, if you really want to be quite frank about it, how does somebody else owning a slave affect me? It doesn’t." He also said that "social decisions" are better left "to the collective wisdom of the states and the people. Because the courts are not smart enough to know what the answer is."
Lewis is up for reelection in November, and his hold on his seat is precarious, CNN reported. As criticism heightened, Lewis' team came to his defense. His campaign manager Becky Alery told CNN, "This has all been litigated before, and as Congressman Lewis has said time and time again, it was his job to be provocative while on the radio."