Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) suggested to reporters on Friday that it was difficult to recruit Republican women to his panel because it requires a lot of work.
“It’s a lot of work ― maybe they don’t want to do it,” Grassley said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.”
Grassley later returned to the reporters to clarify his remarks, adding that it was also hard to recruit male senators.
“We have a hard time getting men on the committee,” he said. “It’s just a lot of work whether you’re a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter.”
He further walked back his comments on the workload, saying female senators generally work harder than men.
“On average, any woman in the United States Senate, whether they’re on Judiciary or any other committee, probably works harder than the average man.”
All 11 of the Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee are men, while the Democrats have four women, including its ranking member, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Concern over the GOP’s all-male presence on the committee grew after Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teens. To soften that concern, Republicans recruited a female prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, to question Ford and Kavanaugh during a hearing on Sept. 27.