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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. get real

    I bet Massa wanted to frag him, too. LOL!

    March 9, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Obama Victim

    and we would believe anything out of the Obozo white house because??????

    March 9, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. Smithson

    This is what happens when someone who doesn't respect the Constitution is in the WH and has an ageda that is not compatible with what the rest of America believes.

    March 9, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Not Blue, Not Red, but Purple

    LMAO!!! It is just a little Cat Fight.

    March 9, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Texas Jack

    What are you saying? Of coyurse there are [plenty of us people out here that believe this of Emanuel. He and Obama's group are no higher that whales dung.. The sooner we can get this nasty bunch out of the White House the Better. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A PICTURE OF ANOTHER PRESIDENT SITTING IN THE OVAL OFFICE WITH HIS FEET UP AND ON A ANTIQUE DESK WHILE TALKING WITH HIS STAFF LIKE OBAMA DOES . WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS? 'KING OF THE WATERMELON HEADS". I personally am sick of hte whole bunch they are out for one thing and that is destroying our constitution. Our borders arew wide open. Our deficit is growing like never before. I health care is going into no-existent. Taxes are mountains to climb. OUr soldiers are being neglected. What more do you want out of the Bonehead party.

    March 9, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Massa is an Embarassment

    Do not blame your behavior on anyone else Mr. Massa. Calling Rahm the devil's spawn is just childish. Rahn hasn't done anything unethical sir. You have!

    March 9, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    ...and Fox is not a news organization, and no one making under $250K will pay anymore in taxes, and there will be no lobbyists in the new administration, and health care reform will not add one dime to the deficit, and the lies roll on and on from this White House don't they.

    March 9, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. Lisa P

    Rep. Massa goes straight for the homoerotic subtext, doesn't he? Really loved the photo yesterday of him sticking a gas hose into his SUV. But if that sort of stuff plays in Rochester who am I to say anything?

    in the meantime still wondering how the House Democratic leadership and/or the White House induced a cancer relapse. Maybe Massa should head to the other Rochester (MN) and have the Mayo Clinic check that one out. Could make for a big step forward in health care reform.

    March 9, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Massa is completely off his rocker – which is why he is currently the darling of the right wing nut job media. First he was resigning for health reasons, next he was sexually harassing an aide and now he's being done in by Rahm Emanuel. Methinks he's trying to cover his tracks.

    March 9, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Hendrik

    I love people like Massa. He misbehaves and blames other. Trying to repoint that finger of shame, he jerk?

    March 9, 2010 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Duck Fallas

    Instead of sneaking around in the congressional gym, these two can now get married in DC.

    Nice imagery, though.

    I think the bigger questions is what was Massa doing in a gym?

    March 9, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Classic liberal tactics, deny and defame.

    March 9, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Democrats are going to let Massa continue to bury himself. It would be wise for Massa to stop while he's ahead and not drag his family through the mud with him. He will be exposed, it never fails.

    March 9, 2010 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Daniel

    Let me get this right. There is a "Congressional Gym". Maybe take your butt down to a regular gym like us regular folks instead of sitting up high in your Congressional Gym. No wonder why these fruitloops are out of touch with us. We pamper their butts left and right.

    Again, when is it the employee has a better life than the boss?

    March 9, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Michael M. Noonan

    Once I would have dismissed Massa's remarks as an inane screed. But given the thugs in this White House, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

    March 9, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    If I were Massa I would'nt tell that story to my pillow!! You big wuss. "He came into the shower and intimidated me, wah, wah!". Jeepers man, grow a pair, and then hit Emmanuel over the head with them!! You big sissie!

    March 9, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. SLM

    If they are dismissing the claims as "silly" then you know they are TRUE. Cram this health care bill through and bulldoze anyone in our way. All while they are coddling Rangel until there is so much against him, even they can't deny it any longer.

    March 9, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. PALINs PALM PILOT...have all the Retarded asnwers to her Stupidity

    this Massa guys is throwing dirt after he had been caught with his pants down; he fits right in with the Teabaggers & rightWING NUTS...point fingers and attack everything President Obama while exhibiting Larry Craig tendency to a male staffer!!!

    March 9, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Tom

    Sounds like the chief of staff is sexually harrassing members of congress. Also, is sounds like battery with him poking people in the chest. That chicago crook should be behind bars!

    March 9, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. Bill

    Massa is pretty wheels off but ever notice that anyone who disagrees with Gibss is labeled silly & ridiculous and out of the norm.

    March 9, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Johnny DC

    Who doesn't already know this? Oh, that's right, all the Liberals who look the other way and pretend like their party is incapable of such disgraces.

    March 9, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. J. Richter

    This is just funny. Some folks dont know how to go down quitely. Same as Crist crying about another man's back wax.

    March 9, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Should be pretty easy to determine if Rahm is of the devil's spawn, just ask do a DNA test on dick cheney.

    March 9, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Daniel

    Interesting this Congressman has been under investigation for a year and it is just now being leaked. For all you ignorant people out there, this is Chicago Politics 101. I know you all want to believe this would never be the work of Rahm, Nancy, or Obama but if you really put down the Kool-Aid and stopped looking through the bottom of the glass, you would see it.

    If this were Rove, oh you libtards would be going nuts. Even more nuts than you already are.

    March 9, 2010 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. Hammerer

    Right! The claims are silly. Unless you happen to speak out against Obamanation. This was to put congress on notice, don't fall in line and you will be tomorrows headlines.
    It is called "what ever it takes" and all have been warned.

    March 9, 2010 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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