After initially defending his joke, Rep. Cedric Richmond issued an apology Sunday night

By Tierney McAfee
March 07, 2017 03:15 PM
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty

A Democratic congressman has apologized for making a lewd joke about White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s now-infamous Oval Office couch picture.

Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana referenced the controversial photo of Conway kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office during a comedy routine at last week’s annual Washington Press Club Foundation congressional dinner, saying President Trump‘s top adviser looked “kind of familiar there in that position.”

The joke was met by groans from the room full of journalists, congressional staffers and politicians, ABC News reported.

After initially defending his comment, Richmond issued an apology Sunday night. “After a discussion with people I know and trust I understand the way my remarks have been received by many,” said Richmond, who is also chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “I have consistently been a champion for women and women’s issues, and because of that the last thing I would want to ever do is utter words that would hurt or demean them. I apologize to Kellyanne Conway and everyone who has found my comments to be offensive.”

The apology came after backlash from politicians on both sides of the aisle. Chelsea Clinton notably slammed the joke as “despicable” and called for Richmond to apologize to Conway.

Conway was criticized late last month for kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office while taking a picture of Trump’s meeting with leaders of historically black colleges and universities. While many slammed the move as “disrespectful,” some of the criticisms had a sexist slant and made crude references to oral sex and Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton’s activities in the same room.

RELATED VIDEO: Watch: Kellyanne Conway Addresses Kneeling on Oval Office Couch: ‘I Certainly Meant No Disrespect’

Conway said at the time that she “certainly meant no disrespect” but also decried the “venomous” and “vicious” backlash against her.

“It bothers my children, to be frank with you,” she said during an appearance on Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs Tonight.