Democratic Connecticut Rep. Elizabeth Esty is facing increasing pressure to resign over her handling of an abusive chief of staff, who was allowed to remain on staff for three months after being accused of punching a female staffer and threatening to kill her.
Not only did Esty allow her former chief of staff, Tony Baker, to remain in his paid position for months after the accusations, she also wrote a positive recommendation to help him land his next job at Sandy Hook Promise, a Connecticut-based nonprofit.
The Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s largest newspaper, published an editorial on Friday demanding Esty resign over the scandal.
“After learning about the allegations against her chief of staff, Ms. Esty, the Democratic U.S. Representative for Connecticut’s 5th District, should have ensured that her former staffer was safe and that the man who’d threatened her was held accountable. Instead, she circled the wagons, called the lawyers and kept things quiet,” the Courant wrote. “That’s appalling.”
“Ms. Esty had every opportunity — and every responsibility — to at least suspend Mr. Baker on the spot and hold him accountable for his behavior. Instead, she went with the script that has cloaked sexual assault and harassment in Congress for decades. She is complicit,” the paper added.
Esty should resign over the scandal, Connecticut Republican state chair J.R. Romano said on Thursday. “She wrote [Baker] a glowing recommendation and helped him get another job after he was known to be abusive,” Romano said. “The Democratic Party in this state needs to join me in calling for Elizabeth Esty to resign.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) issued a statement on Friday calling on Esty to resign.
“Elizabeth Esty orchestrated one of the most disturbing Washington cover-ups in recent memory,” NRCC spokesman Chris Martin said. “There is no place for someone who protects abusers in Congress, and she should resign immediately.”
Esty called on Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers to resign when he was accused of sexual harassment in 2017, the Courant noted.
“Time was up for John Conyers,” the paper concluded. “And now, time is up for Elizabeth Esty.”
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