March 9th, 2010
03:19 PM ET
3 years ago

White House: Massa's claims are 'silly and ridiculous'

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that recent accusations by former Democratic Rep. Eric Massa are 'silly and ridiculous.'
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that recent accusations by former Democratic Rep. Eric Massa are 'silly and ridiculous.'

(CNN) – The White House is dismissing former Rep. Eric Massa's claims that Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel "is the son of devil's spawn" who once berated him in the nude for not supporting the president's budget.

Twice on Tuesday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Massa's recent accusations about Emanuel are "silly and ridiculous."

In the wake of a Politico report that Massa sexually harassed one of his male staffers, the Democratic lawmaker announced last week that he would not seek re-election and then, just days later, that he would retire - effective Monday evening.

In his last full day in office on Monday, the departing lawmaker took a shot at the president's chief of staff.

"Rahm Emanuel is the son of the devil's spawn," Massa told a caller Sunday during his radio program on WKPQ in upstate New York. "He is an individual that would sell his mother for a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive. If he doesn't like me, he can come after me personally."

On the broadcast, Massa also recounted a confrontation with Emanuel in the House gym.

"I'm sitting there showering, naked as a jaybird and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn't going to vote for the president's budget," he said. "Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man? And by the way, what the heck is doing in the congressional gym? He goes there to intimidate members of Congress."

Massa said Emanuel "hates my guts."

"He's hated me from day one and now he wins," he claimed. "So, he'll get rid of me and this bill will pass and I don't know what we're going to do in this country."

Gibbs said he has not asked Emanuel about Massa's comments.

Massa, who was in his first term in the House, had opposed Democratic health care legislation before Congress, arguing that it is not liberal enough. It was one reason, he said, that Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill wanted him gone.

"That's completely false. There is zero merit to that accusation," said Katie Grant, a spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also denied Massa's claim.

Gibbs likewise rejected the idea that there was any kind of Democratic plot to get Massa out of Congress because of his opposition to health care reform.

"The notion that somehow the White House had anything to do with the series of events that have caused him to not seek re-election and then ultimately leave the House, the notion that somehow were involved in that is, as I said this morning, silly and ridiculous," he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Gibbs told ABC News: "We're focused not on crazy allegations but instead on making this [health care] system work for the American people rather than work for insurance companies."

Follow Martina Stewart on Twitter: @MMStewartCNN


Filed under: Eric Massa • Health care • Obama administration • Rahm Emanuel
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Jon from Madison

    Rahm isn't devil spawn, he is the devil. It would not surprise me if the accusations are true. You can take the crooks out of Illinois and give them important roles, but they are still crooks. That means you too Obama. Rot in Hell traitors.

    March 9, 2010 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. JA/TN

    the question is how much has been misappropriated

    March 9, 2010 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Kat

    This guy really sounds like a nut, but I wouldn't put anything past the current administration.

    March 9, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Pattobay

    If this Massa guy was such a pathetic nut case, how did he ever get elected? The dems wish he would just disappear but he will not go quietly. No one knows what is coming out of this guy from day to day. Shows what can happen when you go off the rails against the Obama machine.

    March 9, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. HypocriCNNonsense!

    The President's Cheif Of Staff Is Out To Get Me, The Dog Ate My Homework, I've Got A Bunion On My Big To So I Couldn't Go To Work Today. Those Are Congressman Eric Massa's D-New York Excuses Today!

    March 9, 2010 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. inofritzn

    could the democrat party be any more screwed up?

    March 9, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. ART

    Massa, Stupak who's next, if there not on board then get them the hell out. The insurance companies have enough backing from the Republikkkans, so if youre a Democrat obstructionist then you should go. Thank god for Rahm at least he has a pair

    March 9, 2010 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. LIP

    So, what's new? Is it that unusual when the kingmakers of our society find that they may not have the muscle they thought they had and they become belligerant when things don't go the way they intended? Sometimes, those of us in management need to rethink the people we surround ourselves with and make some necessary, often needed "changes". Perhaps President Obama needs to think about his management skills.

    March 9, 2010 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. felicia

    this guy is beside himself, who apparently like s naked men.

    March 9, 2010 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. Bob in Pa.

    Lots of weird things going on here. Why would this guy make accusations towards Rahm Emanuel if it was Politico that caused the ethics probe towards him ? It doesn't make a lot of sense unless both Politico and Massa are telling the truth.

    March 9, 2010 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Ken in NC

    FORMER Congressman Massa needs to stop whinning. The man said he was going to quit because of a past cancer. Then he claims he was going to quit because he was guilty of ethics charges and now he claims it was the White House COS that forced him out of congress. This man is simply trying to slide the media attention from himself to something else in his effort to make himself look more like a victim.

    It's amazing how stupid smart people think Americans are.

    March 9, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. The Other Michael in Houston

    I don't know if I should be laughing at Eric Massa or feeling sorry for him. First off, no way as a real man would I admit to being punked by a naked guy who just got out of the shower in the mens locker room. Are you serious Eric????? Second, if all this is true, and the White House has been punking you, then why come out after the fact. This guy at the least is hilarious. Hey Rahm, would it be too much to ask that the next time you decided to punk someone, at least wrap a towel around yourself. It's already bad enough to get punked in the mens locker room, it's even worse when they guy doing the punking has his crank up your face as well.....I know CNN you are not posting this...a bit too much but enjoying reading it moderator and have a good laugh

    March 9, 2010 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. Ready for 2012

    QUOTE ["Rahm Emanuel is the son of the devil's spawn," Massa told a caller Sunday during his radio program on WKPQ in upstate New York. "He is an individual that would sell his mother for a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive. If he doesn't like me, he can come after me personally.""] /QUOTE

    Welcome to politics. You either play ball the way the Obama Admistration wants you to or else they will get rid of you.

    This is nothing new.

    March 9, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Sgt. USMC

    Massa, see where self interests got you? Just go home and cook yourself up a nice soup, take a hot bath and get cozy because it's cold where you're at and it's only making you bitter. Goodbye now!

    March 9, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    rham does look like a weasle

    but if the be true..........its just the way this administration functions

    gibbs should admis that this administration is "silly and ridiculous."

    March 9, 2010 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. LBJ Was a Son-of-a-B_TCH

    I hope Massa's claims are true and I support the Administration. The Democrats need to knock some heads and everybody in Congress should be put on record.

    The Democrats had a 58 vote (+ 2 Independents) advantage in the Senate and a sizable majority in the House and yet they have not RAMMED through legislation like the Republicans. The reason is that Democrats ... as a whole .... are NEVER as cohesive as the monolithic Republican Party.

    Therefore, a Democratic Administration has a harder time "herding its cats". That's just the reality. Because of this, more severe arm twisting is required to achieve the same level of support within the Democratic Party as compared to the GOP.

    Ronald Reagan threatened Republicans with his 11th Commandment .... though shall not speak ill of another Republican. I hope that the current administration empowers some political ninjas to do the hand-to-hand combat that has always been a part of politics in this country.

    March 9, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Monkey wrench

    BeverlyNC March 9th, 2010 10:52 am ET

    Rubio is a slimeball and another example of how the blind followers of the Republican Party never check out the background of the people they vote into office.

    Scott Brown, new Sen from MA, is another ignornant slimeball who posed nude in a woman's magazine in the 1980s, who has no credible political experience, and has no clue or depth on the national issues facing our country. He offered up his daughters to any single men out there during his absurd acceptance speech. This is not a man qualified or ready for national leadership issues.

    Just like with Palin – Republicans will accept anyone without properly checking their background, their character, their ethics, or their knowlegde and SOLUTIONS for fixing our nation's problems.

    If your candidate cannot articulate SOLUTIONS and only attacks his opposition – it means he is UNQUALIFIED and NOT CAPABLE of being an effective leader. REJECT any candidate who only attacks and can offer NO IDEAS or NO REAL SOLUTIONS to restore our country.
    _________________________________-

    Oh, I see, it is the "Slime ball Republicans" that accept unqualified candidates for their leaders without fully looking into their pasts, like say, fully exploring radical ties to known Communists, Socialists, Marxists, drug sales and use, Islam, ACORN, Unions, Public Corruption, etc., etc., etc......

    March 9, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Sounds like a very small, very bitter man...who also happens to have a foul mouth and no judgement. I think I speak for New Yorkers when I say...better he should stay out of Washington!

    March 9, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Charlie in Maine

    Sorry you cry baby but it is his job to berate you if you don't support thee budget. As Harry Truman would say "If you can't stand the heat get out of the ..oh that's right. Happy retirement.

    March 9, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Kevin B

    This Massa guy is completely unglued and wants to try to divert attention from his own weirdness by slinging mud to switch the mainstream media's attention away from his own sorted mess.

    Do not fall for it CNN !

    March 9, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Kevin B

    Rep Massa wants to divert attention from his own weirdness by slinging mud to switch the mainstream media's attention away from his own sorted mess.

    Leave this trash to Rush, Hannity and thier type, it is they type of stuff the AM radio buffoon's live for.

    March 9, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. Kevin B

    Leave this trash to Rush, Hannity and thier type, it is they type of stuff the AM radio muckrakers live for.

    March 9, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Preston

    Let's see. He resigned because of cancer. No, scratch that. It was actually because Hoyer and the White House forced him out. And, by the way, this had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with his behavior, which is the subject of an investigation. How did Massa ever get out of the mental instituion much less into congress? It sounds to me as though this country is far better off without him.

    March 9, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Kevin B

    Leave this trash to Rush, Hannity and thier type, it is the type of stuff the AM radio muckrakers live for.

    March 9, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Yassuh Massa

    So far, this is the most corrupt, arrogant, lying, inept, and opaque administration in history. God help the USA.

    March 9, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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