WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Rep. Katie Hill’s resignation after nude photos of the representative were released without her consent should be a cautionary tale for young people.
Asked at a press conference whether she believed Hill was right to resign, Pelosi said only that it was Hill’s decision to make.
But, the speaker added, “I do say to my own children and grandchildren, especially young children, you know, some of these — I don’t know what to call them — appearances on social media can come back to haunt you if they are taken out of context and that. But I do think that we have to be careful.”
Hill’s resignation came after RedState and the Daily Mail published nude photos of Hill and alleged she dated two staffers, one on her campaign and one in her DC office. Hill said she did date a woman who worked on her campaign, but denied ever having dated a second staffer.
The claim that she did, Hill said in a statement, came from her estranged husband whom she has called “abusive,” something Pelosi did not mention Thursday when she was asked about Hill’s resignation.
“This is what needs to happen so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of political operatives who seem to happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation,” Hill said when she announced she would resign.
Hill’s office said law enforcement is looking into how the photos got out, and BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday that her husband told his parents he was hacked before the photos of Hill appeared online.
The release of the photos was “shameful,” and a “profound violation,” Pelosi said Thursday morning, “regardless of any errors in judgement that anyone may have made.”
But, she added, “I caution everyone that they too may be subjected to [that], so to be careful.”
Some younger members of the Democratic Party have been more defensive of their colleague.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Politico that she “of course” believes it will deter young women from running for office and said, “This doesn't happen to male members in the same way — revenge porn in this respect. It’s horrific. I don't think we’re really talking about how targeted and serious this is. We're talking about a major crime...being committed against her.”
Sen. Kamala Harris told BuzzFeed News this week that she believed Hill, who had endorsed her presidential campaign, was the victim of a “campaign of harassment and intimidation” meant both to hurt her and send a signal to other women “discouraging them from running for office.”
Hill was first elected in 2018, flipping a swing district in Southern California. Since arriving in DC, she’s been considered a rising star in the party and talked about as a potential party leader someday. Hill resigned Sunday, about a week after the photos were first published, and is set to give her final speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon.