Conservative talk-radio star Rush Limbaugh added to his long history of vile, sexist attacks on prominent women by promoting right-wing stories that described Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris as a “hoe” and “mattress,” accusing Harris of “using sex to get ahead.”
During Friday’s broadcast of his top-rated radio program, Limbaugh latched onto a couple of stories revolving around the sexist smear that Harris owes her political career to her brief romantic relationship with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown in the mid-1990s.
Noting that the NBA recently dismissed a photographer from its restart-season bubble after he posted a meme of Harris and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, captioned “Joe and the Hoe,” Limbaugh repeatedly spelled out the word “hoe” while rhetorically asking, “What do you think that’s about?”
Saying that this “takes me to the second story,” Limbaugh—who was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump—then highlighted a recent piece from right-wing magazine The Spectator titled, “Why It Should Matter to Women That Kamala Slept Her Way Up.”
“Whoa! You know what that’s about?” Limbaugh exclaimed. “That’s about Willie Brown.”
Claiming that Harris had an “affair” with Brown while he was married—Brown had been separated from his wife for over a decade when he dated Harris—Limbaugh then excitedly read a passage from the Spectator column: “It is no secret but public knowledge that Kamala Harris slept her way up into California political life by being a very public escort and mattress for California Democrat Kingmaker Willie Brown.”
“Now, some people read this story and said, ‘Mattress? Didn’t he mean mistress?’ No, I think, they meant mattress here,” Limbaugh continued. “So we have two different stories here that are trading off the known fact that she was Willie Brown’s mattress, and that he has written about it and that he has talked about how it propelled her, that he ended up being one of her mentors.”
Limbaugh went on to lament that there hadn’t been much of a reaction from the “drive-by media” to these two stories, claiming that normally the Spectator piece would make mainstream outlets go “absolutely berserk.”
“And now we have something new that’s been thrust, ahem, into American politics, and that is the question of using sex to get ahead,” he added. “And as Kamala Harris might say, ‘We should have that conversation’—because she says that a lot, about a lot of different things.”
Limbaugh’s sexist attacks on the vice-presidential hopeful follow a decades-long history of smearing and insulting women, especially progressives. He infamously targeted Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke in 2012 after she testified before Congress for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act, calling her a “slut” and “prostitute.” And late last year, he falsely accused former congressional candidate and leftist pundit Krystal Ball of posing nude when she was 14.
Harris, meanwhile, has found herself in the crosshairs of conservative media since Biden announced her as his running mate. Besides accusing her of “sleeping her way to the top,” right-wing pundits—and President Trump—have pushed baseless birtherism charges, questioned her ethnicity, and claimed that she intends to usurp and remove Biden from above her on the Democratic ticket.