Sen. Kirk offers brief apology for ‘inappropriate remarks’

SHARE Sen. Kirk offers brief apology for ‘inappropriate remarks’

After taking a beating for the last five days for making the controversial “bro with no ho” comment, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., offered a one-line apology Monday in a statement released through his Senate office.

“I apologize to the people of Illinois for my inappropriate remarks last week,” Kirk’s statement read.

The apology came on the same day that U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who is seeking to replace Kirk, teed off on the Republican, calling on him to “step up” and personally apologize.

Kirk last week was caught on a hot microphone referring to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a bachelor, as a “bro with no ho” because Graham, a GOP presidential contender, had made a comment about having “rotating First Ladies.”

Kirk followed up his comment on Graham with: “that’s what we’d say on the South Side.”

It’s just the latest verbal gaffe that has raised questions about Kirk’s re-election viability. Kirk suffered a massive stroke in 2012 and struggled with speech issues and had to learn how to walk again. Kirk made a triumphant return to the nation’s capital a year later, dramatically walking up the Capitol steps.

However, verbal gaffes have dogged him. That includes his recent declaration that people drive faster “through black neighborhoods.”

With the election about 16 months away, opponents have seized on the remarks.

When Duckworth was introduced at an Emily’s List event in Chicago on Monday, President Stephanie Schriock introduced her by referring to Kirk as: “A bro with no votes.”

Duckworth called on Kirk to personally apologize for his remark, saying the apology from a staffer last week wasn’t enough.

“As a woman, as a wife, as a mom of a baby girl, I’m personally incredibly offended. I think every woman in Illinois needs to hear an apology from Senator Kirk personally,” Duckworth said, adding that Kirk’s reference to “this is what we say on the South Side” was equally offensive.

“This is not the first time he’s made callous, racially insensitive remarks. And he owes a personal apology not just to the South Siders but to everyone who’s offended by racial stereotypes,” she said.

After the event, Duckworth called the statement from Kirk’s office last week a non-apology.

“I just don’t think it’s an appropriate way for a United States senator to speak,” Duckworth said. “What about to all the women he referred to as ho’s, which I assume refers to all women. … I think as a United States senator, step up, and apologize. It’s that simple. … I think it’s a continued demeaning of women and our roles. It’s really derogatory.”

Duckworth was asked about a case that’s underway in Central Illinois involving a complaint filed when Duckworth was the head of Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.The Illinois Republican Party on Monday released a statement pointing to an ongoing lawsuit filed in 2009 that accuses Duckworth of wrongfully firing one employee and threatening and intimidating another. Duckworth said she could not comment directly on the case because it is a pending legal issue. She said she has not been subpoenaed in the case.

“Let me tell you, veterans are my life’s work. I will be working on veterans’ issues for the rest of my life,” Duckworth said.”Anytime folks are not doing right by veterans, I will do what I think is right to protect our vets even under threats of lawsuits.”

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