New Hampshire state Rep. Richard Komi (D) resigned Saturday amid intense backlash over his recent tweet that used graphic language to dismiss Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden.
In his resignation letter to state House Speaker Steve Shurtleff (D), Komi apologized to “anybody whose feelings may have been hurt” by the tweet, The New Hampshire Union Leader reported.
“I am by this email offering my resignation as a member of the New Hampshire House,” Komi reportedly wrote. “I also want to offer my sincere apologies to anybody whose feelings may have been hurt by the tweets.”
I am and will continue to be a supporter of victims of sexual and domestic assault. The tweets were very poorly worded and do not reflect who I am and what I stand for. I ask for the forgiveness of all who have been a victim of sexual or any other kind of assault. I in no way excuse my poor judgment on this matter and hope that every one will know that I am truly sorry for my mistakes.
Komi, who endorsed Biden for president in July 2019, faced calls for his resignation from liberal activists and state party leaders, including Shurtleff, following his bizarre defense of Biden in a tweet Friday.
“Judging by the position of the female vagina, it will not be easy for anyone to just put their finger into the vagina unless there is some Cooperation from the female herself,” Komi wrote in his since-deleted tweet. “That is why I believe Tara Reade’s allegations is false. She is looking for attention.”
In a statement issued later Friday, Shurtleff said he asked Komi to resign, calling his tweet “dismissive” and “hurtful” to survivors of sexual assault.
“I am appalled by Representative Komi’s comments,” Shurtleff said in his statement. “The comments are not fitting for the New Hampshire House of Representatives and immediately upon learning of them I called him and asked Representative Komi to resign his seat.”
New Hampshire State Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement Friday that he supports Shurtleff’s request.
Sexual violence experts bashed Komi’s comments as misguided and dangerous. Anthony Zenkus, the director of education for The Safe Center, an advocacy group for victims of sexual and domestic violence, bashed Komi’s tweet as “the definition of rape culture.”
“He was right to resign, but we do not accept his apology,” Zenkus tweeted Saturday. “Blaming a woman for her rape is an old trope. Many still believe this. His words were harmful and put women in danger.”
Komi, a former refugee from Nigeria who settled in the U.S. in 1999, was first elected to the New Hampshire legislature in 2008. He failed to win re-election in 2010 but won again in 2018.
Reade has alleged Biden sexually assaulted her when she worked as a staff assistant in his Senate office in 1993. Biden has denied the claim.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.