“I sincerely apologize to everyone for my recent unfortunate remarks,” wrote former State Representative and 2nd Vice Chair Joseph DeLorenzo. “As a husband, father and grandfather of two granddaughters, I never meant to minimize the problem of sexual harassment, which is a very serious issue. I was originally trying to express my disappointment in the Democratic Party‘s movement to the far left and the challenge to Joe Paolino as the National Committeemen. As a lifelong Democrat, my hope is that we can all work together and repair the divisions within our party. I never intended to create any controversy and I am sorry for doing so.”
DeLorenzo was apologizing for remarks made on the John Depetro Show where he made crude and derogatory remarks about State Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown). DeLorenzo only issued the apology after statewide calls for his removal from his position in the Democratic Party and after Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) suggested he do so.
“Let me make something unequivocally clear,” said Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman and State Representative Joseph McNamara (Democrat, District 19, Warwick) on Monday. “Comments such as Joe DeLorenzo’s that trivialize the very real challenges and prejudices that women in government face are unacceptable, and I wholeheartedly disagree with him on this issue. I’m glad he has apologized for those remarks and I take him at his word that he regrets the controversy they have caused. We must all do our part in 2018 to come to the table and work together to elect Democrats at all levels of government. This apology is an important step towards that goal.”
The Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus were unimpressed with DeLorenzo’s apology:
“Mr DeLorenzo’s statement is too little, too late,” they wrote in a statement. “Mr DeLorenzo doubled-down on his sexist remarks last week, insulting women, undermining the integrity of elected women, and otherwise attempting to divide the party with inflammatory comments. Mr DeLorenzo’s attitude about sexual harassment is exactly what silences women from speaking up about abuse, and gives power to sexual predators. Despite what Mr DeLorenzo and Speaker mattiello have said, this has nothing to do with ideology. It is about common decency. Mr DeLorenzo’s comments do not reflect the values of our party and frankly, shouldn’t reflect the values of any party.
“The RIDP Women’s Caucus asks the state committee to stand with us and against Mr DeLorenzo’s attempt to devalue women and our Party as a whole. Since Mr Delorenzo refuses to step down, and the Speaker and Chair have refused to remove him, we’re left with no other option than to call on state committee members to request an emergency state meeting so that committee members can remove him.”
State Senator Jeanine Calkin (Democratic, Distict 30, Warwick) tweeted:
Not good enough. He has insulted half his party, and his resistance to moving left shows how out of touch he is with RI Dem voters. 1/x https://t.co/h72o416mCz
— Jeanine Calkin (@jeaninecalkin) October 23, 2017