[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/art.gibbs0309.gi.jpg 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