Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) came to the defense of Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) on Monday after the congresswoman announced she is resigning amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Harris told BuzzFeed News she views Hill as a victim of “cyber exploitation” that was “clearly meant to embarrass her,” adding that she should be given due process:
“I think there’s no question that she should be given due process, and that she should be respected in this process.”
Hill announced she is resigning from Congress amid allegations that she had a romantic relationship with a campaign staffer and a congressional staffer, as IJR has previously reported. Last week the House Ethics Committee announced it was opening an investigation into the allegations.
The conservative website RedState published nude photos of her with an individual who was allegedly a 22-year old campaign staffer. Hill claims that her estranged husband, who she has described as abusive, gave the photos to the media to hurt her.
While she admitted to having an affair with a campaign staffer, she denied the allegations that she had an affair with a staffer from her congressional office.
In a statement, Hill called the allegations a “coordinated campaign carried out by the right-wing media” and a smear campaign.
Watch her comments below:
Along with Harris, some Hill has gained some unlikely defenders. Last week, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called the Ethics Committee investigation “absurd” and defended her reputation calling her “focused and thoughtful” in a tweet:
Robbie Soave, the editor of Reason Magazine, said in a tweet he doesn’t think Hill should resign just yet, “The more I read about Katie Hill… the more it seems like she should not resign, at least not without an investigation.”
Harris told BuzzFeed she believes Hill’s experience shows that there is a double-standard for women in politics:
“But, you know, let’s also speak the truth that men and women are not held to the same standards. I mean, look at who’s in the White House.”
She continued to say she believes the allegations against Hill are part of larger campaign to discourage women from running for office.