Representative Jesus Rubalcava (D-Ariz.) said he wanted to punch Sen. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) in the throat after she sponsored a bill to give more school choice to families in the state.
“I wanted to punch her in the throat,” he wrote, speaking about his Republican colleague on social media.
Rubalcava was upset that Senate Bill 1431 passed both chambers of the Arizona state legislature last week, allowing school choice.
According to The Arizona Republic, Lesko later responded to the threat by saying, “The more time I’ve had to think of this Rubalcava comment, it is kind of disturbing. I don’t know if the guy has violent tendencies, or what. … The more I think about it, it is rather disturbing that someone would comment like that.”
She then made a public statement in the newspaper that read, “As a survivor of domestic violence from a previous marriage, Representative Rubalcava’s Facebook post saying ‘I wanted to punch her in the throat’ was very disturbing and totally inappropriate especially since he is an elementary school teacher and legislator. I hope in the future that he debates issues based on their merit in a civil manner.”
Rubalcava removed the comment and then apologized on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives, saying he too was against violence.
“And so, my comment, was definitely unprofessional, and it was unacceptable,” he said. “And I want this body to know that I have apologized to Sen. Debbie Lesko for my comment. And I sincerely apologize, I want this body to know.”
He also reportedly posted on Twitter, saying, “I was raised in a household where violence was not tolerated; especially against [a] woman. I apologize to @DebbieLesko for my FB post.” However, this tweeted apology is no longer visible to the public because the lawmaker made his account private.
The Democratic representative is now facing calls for his resignation.
“His apology got one thing right — his actions are unacceptable,” remarked Arizona Republican Party spokesperson, Torunn Sinclair.
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