In discussing this week's photographs of Kellyanne Conway with her feet up on an Oval Office couch, one Democratic congressman crudely linked the now-viral images to former president Bill Clinton's 1995 affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Lawmakers gathered at the Washington Press Club Foundation's annual congressional dinner on Wednesday -- a fundraising event for journalism scholarships that is usually an easy going gathering of Capitol Hill elite. When the topic of Conway's kneeling on an Oval Office couch during a White House meeting came up, Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana attempted to joke about the subject -- saying President Trump's senior adviser "really looked familiar in that position."
"You even mentioned Kellyanne and the picture on the sofa," Richmond said. "But I really just want to know what was going on there, because, I won't tell anybody. And you can just explain to me that — that circumstance, because she really looked kind of familiar there in that position there. But don't answer. And I don't want you to refer back to the '90s."
Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) sits on a couch as U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes the leaders of dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) attends as U.S. President Donald Trump (behind desk) welcomes the leaders of dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) attends as U.S. President Donald Trump (behind desk) welcomes the leaders of dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27: Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway takes a picture of U.S. President Donald Trump with members of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Oval Office of the White House, on February 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (L) checks her phone after taking a photo as US President Donald Trump and leaders of historically black universities and colleges pose for a group photo in the Oval Office of the White House before a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence February 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina first brought up the images of the former Trump campaign manager, saying, "Has anyone seen the controversy around Kellyanne Conway and the couch in the oval office? Come on people. You remember the '90s. That couch has had a whole lot of worse things. Come on now."
C-SPAN reported that the event's audience laughed at Scott's joke, but did not respond similarly to Richmond's response. As Washington Post's Amber Phillips writes, the audience perhaps felt Richmond's joke "leapt over that fine line in comedy between guffaw and offensive."
Richmond on Thursday denied that his joke implied a sexual connotation, saying, "Where I grew up saying that someone is looking or acting 'familiar' simply means that they are behaving too comfortably."
CNN's Jake Tapper wasn't buying it.
Congressman Richmond's "joke" was sexist and inappropriate and his denial of what he was suggesting is insulting. https://t.co/zHEmWGJry2
"I was being asked to take a picture in a crowded room with the press behind us, and I was asked to take a certain angle and was doing exactly that," Conway told Dobbs in the interview. "I certainly meant no disrespect. I didn't mean to have my feet on the couch."
RELATED: Twitter reacts to Kellyanne Conway's couch photo
Twitter reacts to Kellyanne Conway's couch photo
Twitter reacts to Kellyanne Conway's couch photo
Never, in the face of white military leaders would Kellyanne Conway be on the couch, shoes off, on her knees.
Everyone please stop complaining about this pic. @KellyannePolls is not kneeling, she's alternative standing. https://t.co/pbrwnb4sOW
*gasp* Oh no! Kellyanne Conway had her knees on the couch at the Oval Office! This is far worse than the millions starving in Africa!
I despise Kellyanne Conway but how she was on a couch for a second is definitively not why.
@KellyannePolls checks her phone while kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office,,#KellyanneConway Would u let your d… https://t.co/LrCOnZm5PG
If Kellyanne Conway's feet on a couch is the worst thing that happens to you, might I suggest helping at a food bank to see real life probs.
Kellyanne Conway is sitting weirdly on an Oval Office couch to distract you from the Bowling Green Massacre
It'll be hard to have a conversation more stupid than this kerfuffle over Kellyanne Conway's feet on a couch, but I bet we'll manage it.
The fact that people are outraged about Kellyanne Conway sitting on a couch speaks volumes about the state of American politics
I will only be able to get mad at the way Kellyanne Conway sits on a couch if it turns out she's hiding of Trump's tax returns under her.
Seriously. Why is Kellyanne Conway sitting on her knees like that on the couch in the Oval Office. I'm uncomfortable.
Why is Kellyanne Conway kneeling on an Oval Office couch? https://t.co/TEGbDk8hUb
Kellyanne Conway kneels on Oval Office couch, sparks debate (from @AP) The press really knows what is important! https://t.co/ObPmDT00Al
@washingtonpost Why is this news!? As long as her shoes weren't on the couch, she's fine. WAIT..did I just defend #KellyanneConway!?! Yikes
@washingtonpost The least offensive thing Kellyanne Conway did in past year is sit on her knees on a couch in the Oval Office.