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BA State Senator Nathan Dahm Draws Criticism For Crude Joke Targeting Vice President

Oklahoma Senate
Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) in a Feb. 27, 2020, video posted by the Oklahoma Senate.

Broken Arrow Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm has drawn bipartisan criticism for a crude sexual joke about Vice President Kamala Harris in a Senate press release.

In a release sent Friday regarding a bill he filed to ban paper straws, which has since been removed from the Senate website, Dahm wrote, "I've never met a single person who enjoys using a paper straw. They fall apart and turn to mush quicker than Joe Biden trying to string together a coherent sentence. They collapse like Mitt Romney under the slightest amount of pressure, and even with Kamala Harris ... well, never mind."

In an interview with KTUL's Tyler Butler, Dahm did not deny he was making a reference to oral sex.

"There's a lot of different things that could be said about that with her vast experience and how she got her start into politics," Dahm said. "In talking with some people, one thing that could be said is that, you know, you can't use a paper straw for a milkshake, but maybe Kamala Harris could because of her vast experience. Maybe she would be able to get that accomplished."

The comment drew criticism from state lawmakers in both parties, including Republican Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat.

"I am disappointed in Nathan Dahm’s comments about the vice president of the United States. His comments were misogynistic, disrespectful, immature, and undermine the good work of the staff and other members of the Oklahoma Senate. As the leader of the Senate, I hold senators to a high standard of conduct and decorum, and Senator Dahm completely failed to live up to that standard," Treat said in a statement.

Rep. Ajay Pittman (D-Oklahoma City) issued a statement calling for Dahm to be formally censured.

"For the Senator to suggest that the Vice President did not attain her success in her political career on the merits of her academic and professional prowess, but rather that she had to perform acts outside the scope of her professional duties to become who she is today is the height of sexism, bias, and outright racism," Pittman said.

In a tweet, Dahm did not show contrition, writing, "If you think I’m going to be 'politically correct' you need to realize a few things.  1) you obviously know nothing about me  2) you’re in for a bad time  3) I’ve been assured my jokes are hilarious  4) your emotional opinions are irrelevant."

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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