ROCHESTER, N.Y. — New York Rep. Eric Massa is blaming his resignation on a conspiracy led by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and House Democratic leaders to force him out before a crucial vote on healthcare.
Massa was one of 39 Democrats who voted against an earlier House version of the healthcare bill in November. Democratic leaders will "stop at nothing" to advance the healthcare overhaul, he said.
He also had some choice words for Emanuel during a recent radio interview in which he called the top Obama adviser "the son of the devil's spawn."
"He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive," Massa said of Emanuel's desire to lock up vital votes on healthcare reform.
"You think that somehow they didn't come after me to get rid of me because my vote is the deciding vote in the healthcare bill? Then, ladies and gentlemen, you live today in a world that is so innocent as to not understand what's going on in Washington, D.C."
Massa spoke Sunday night on his weekly radio show on WKPQ-FM in Hornell, N.Y.
Facing a harassment complaint from a staffer, Massa said last week he's stepping down from his seat Monday. He earlier announced he wouldn't seek re-election because of health problems.
He said he learned he was the subject of an ethics complaint by a male staffer who felt "uncomfortable" during an exchange with Massa. The exchange reportedly had sexual overtones.
In his account, Massa said he and Emanuel have had many tense confrontations during the past year, including one incident in the shower of the Congressional gym.
"Let me tell you a story about Rahm Emanuel," Massa continued. "I was a congressman in my first eight weeks, and I was in the congressional gym, and I went down and I worked out and I went into the showers...I'm sitting there showering, naked as a jaybird and here comes Rahm Emanuel not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn't going to vote for the president's budget. Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man?
"By the way, what the heck is he doing in the Congressional gym," Massa continued. "He goes there to intimidate members of Congress... He's hated me since day one, and now he wins."
In the same interview on WKPQ radio, Massa accuses Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of lying about the time line of the ethics inquiry, and more broadly of a conspiracy against him by House Democratic leaders to force him out ahead of a critical vote on healthcare.
Massa was a firm “no” vote against the bill, but with his resignation, the number of votes needed to pass the bill drops by one to 216.
“Mine is now the deciding vote on the healthcare bill, and this administration and this House leadership have said, quote-unquote, they will stop at nothing to pass this healthcare bill, and now they’ve gotten rid of me and it will pass,” he said.
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