The political discourse inside the Beltway is rife with competing accusations of sexism across party lines this week.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden drew criticism from both sides of the aisle by telling Fox News on Sunday that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was too "emotional" to lead an objective report on the CIA's Bush-era interrogation tactics against terrorism detainees.
"There are certain code words that you're just begging for trouble if you use them," Rick Ungar, co-host of "Steel & Ungar" on SiriusXM radio, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"Wasn't necessary. I'm sure if he had to do it again, he'd probably avoid the word," Ungar said Tuesday.
Newsmax White House correspondent John Gizzi said on the same show that the debate over Hayden's remarks distracted from the larger issue, the report itself.
Gizzi said it was more important to discuss comments made by Rep. Devin Nunes, another California Democrat like Feinstein, who suggested that Feinstein knew about and supported the CIA's torture tactics at the height of the war on terror, an allegation that former Bush adviser Mary Matalin made without reservation to Steve Malzberg later in Tuesday's show.
Gizzi said he has seen conservative women in Congress attacked with similarly sexist coded language without generating any backlash.
Elsewhere in Washington on Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed two executive orders intended to combat national income disparities between men and women – even as his administration came under attack for its own unequal pay rates among his male and female staffers.
The White House's problem, Ungar said, is that it pays men and women the same salaries for the same roles but has too many men in higher-paying jobs compared with women.
"The White House should have set an example right from the beginning. When they were hiring people to come into the White House, they should have been very aware of the balance. They didn't do that, and now they can't fix it because you can't fire people because they're a man or a woman," he said.
Though the White House has had its own missteps on equal pay for men and women, the larger issue remains, Ungar said.
"Don't allow the Republicans' response to take away from the real issue, which is women still are paid less," he said.
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