Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) was caught on camera lecturing a female reporter after she asked about his “no” vote on the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Sessions was attending the Family Violence Prevention Council candidate forum in Dallas on Thursday when confronted by KXAS-TV reporter Laura Harris. Harris asked Sessions to explain his vote against the 2013 re-authorization of the VAWA.
Instead, Sessions began by explaining that he wasn’t in Congress in 1994 when the original VAWA was passed. Harris said she understood that and reiterated that she was asking about the 2013 re-authorization.
The local NBC anchor then gave him the question again, asking, “So, when you did have the chance to vote for it, did you vote for it or did you not vote?”
To which Sessions replied, “I have–so–the question is: When the United States Senate had their bill, the United States House had its bill, we had differences between those bills, I did vote against one of the provisions.”
Harris then moves on. She attempts to explain that Sessions’ answer is probably confusing for viewers, but before she gets a chance to finish, Sessions cuts her off and says, “You’re confused. You’re talking about money versus authorization. The authorization is the philosophy. We do it every five years. It is on the policy. And then each year we fund that request.”
Harris then attempts to clarify Sessions’ answer. She asks, “So, after December then what happens? It’s going to be there, it’s going to be funded, it’s all good?” Sessions repeats himself, saying, “That is policy. Not money.”
After a few moments of silence, Harris tries to clarify again, asking, “When you say policy, what do you mean by that? Because, as you can, there are people in that room who just–” Sessions cuts Harris off again. He says:
You still want to keep running this camera? Or do you want to learn about this?
Sessions then raises his hands and begins to speak with them. He continues to repeat essentially the same lines about the distinction between policy and appropriations, which Harris says she understands completely. The reporter tries one last time to question the congressman, but Sessions cuts off her yet again.
“It’s all about policy right now,” Sessions explains. “This is the least of all issues. It is a bi-partisan effort. It is about policy.”
Democrats assailed Sessions for his tone with Harris and for his apparently evasive answers regarding the “no” vote against VAWA re-authorization in 2013.
In a statement, the Texas Democratic Party’s Executive Director Crystal K. Perkins said, “Congressman Pete Sessions wants to blame everyone but himself for his Washington ways and his devastating 2013 vote in opposition to the Violence Against Women Act. And to be clear, the only person who is confused seems to be Congressman Sessions, who can’t seem to figure out why he finally has to answer for his terrible record.”
Sessions has been under fire for his comments regarding violence against women before. In June of this year, Sessions attracted national attention after he blamed a woman for being shot to death by her husband.
At a local Republican Party event in a conservative area of North Texas, Sessions said:
Dallas County, a few years ago, went through a number of terrible shootings. And I gathered together, they were at the time Republican district judges, and I said ‘guys, men, women, we’ve now had I think four or five shootings.’ One of them was from a big-time guy in Highland Park, who went and killed his wife, just gunned her down. And that was because the judge was unfair, and the woman was unfair. And she demanded something, and he was out.
Sessions is running against Democrat and former NFL player Colin Allred.
[image via screengrab]