In this week’s quarantine episode of our Useful Idiots podcast, hosts Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper are joined by mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, Alex Morse, who discusses the recent controversy around his campaign for Congress.
First, Matt and Katy discuss the Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion song “WAP,” and the negative conservative reaction to it. Next, they discuss Joe Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris and her record on criminal-justice reform.
Then, Matt and Katy pivot to discuss the attack on congressional candidate Alex Morse, mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, for consensual sexual relationships with students at the University of Massachusetts. Morse is also running in the 1st Congressional District, which is currently held by Rep. Richard Neal, the chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Recently, the College Democrats of Massachusetts sent Morse a letter telling him he was no longer welcome at any of their events, and later released a letter accusing him of “having sexual contact with college students, including at UMass Amherst, where he teaches, and the greater Five College Consortium.”
Mayor Morse, 31, joins the discussion, in his first public interview since the controversy erupted, to address the allegations and explain his side of what is going on. After he lays out his background and positions, Morse poses, “Why am I being put in a position to talk about my personal life and my personal sex life? I mean, honestly, my sex life has got more scrutiny in the last five days than Congressman Neal’s record in corruption over the last 30 years.”
Morse explains that he knew that there had been a story that someone had been “shopping around” to various outlets but that no one published it because they couldn’t get anyone to go on the record. Katie asks if he was nervous and how he reacted to the eventual stories that were published over the past week.
“I think gay men and members of the queer community, in particular, are sort of used to the over-policing of our sex lives. There was part of me that expected that this would be a debate and a campaign on issues of policy. And, unfortunately, the events on Friday night and the coverage and the language that has been used in response to it has been incredibly problematic and rooted in generations-long homophobic tropes. And the use of words like ‘survivors’ and ‘abusers’ and ‘predators’ is just completely unacceptable language to be used in response to this, and I think it does a great disservice to the actual victims.”