Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., ripped into her political opponents on Thursday, denouncing what she called a "double standard" in politics that allegedly punished her while letting President Trump and others off the hook.
"I am leaving now because of a double standard," she said. "I am leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip. I'm leaving because I didn't want to be pedaled by papers and blogs and websites, used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics that I've ever seen -- and the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photos of me -- taken without my knowledge, let alone my consent -- for the sexual entertainment of millions."
Hill claimed that she was leaving as men remained in Congress, the Oval Office, and the Supreme Court after being "credibly accused of acts of sexual violence" -- a clear jab at Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Hill announced her resignation on Sunday after a media firestorm was ignited by intimate details about her personal life. Pornographic photos of her surfaced online after a conservative news site -- RedState -- reported on an extramarital affair that Hill allegedly had with staffers.
"I'm leaving because of a misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality, and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse -- this time, with the entire country watching," she added while speaking on the House floor. She went on to cite "thousands" of threatening messages that made her fear for her life.
Hill's speech painted a picture in which misogynistic forces colluded to oust her from office.
"The forces of revenge by a bitter, jealous man, cyber exploitation, and sexual shaming that target our gender and a large segment of society that fears and hates powerful women have combined to push a young woman out of power and say that she doesn't belong here," she said, referring to herself.
"Yet a man, who brags about his sexual predation, who's had dozens of women come forward to accuse him of sexual assault, who pushes policies that are uniquely harmful to women, and who has filled the court with judges who proudly rule to deprive women of the most fundamental right to control their own bodies -- sits in the highest office of the land," she said.
Thursday, she said, was the first day she left her apartment since the photos surfaced. Hill also apologized for falling "short" of her goal to show "imperfect people" they belonged in Congress and "give a voice to the unheard in the halls of power." She added apologies for "everyone who has supported and believed in me." At one point, she said she hoped that one day little girls who looked up to her would be able to forgive her.
"The mistakes I've made and the people I've hurt that led to this moment will haunt me for the rest of my life," she said.
As her last act in Congress, Hill voted for Trump's impeachment "on behalf of the women of the United States of America."
The House approved an impeachment resolution mostly along partisan lines on Thursday, after weeks of an official inquiry by House Democrats.
Hill indicated that she was leaving Congress so she wouldn't distract from the impeachment process.
"I'm leaving because there is only one investigation that deserves the attention of this country," she said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended Hill during her weekly press briefing on Thursday.
“Katie Hill’s decision to resign is her decision to resign,” said. "She is an absolutely outstanding young public servant -- very smart, strategic, patriotic, loves our country, respected by her colleagues in the Congress for the work that she does," Pelosi said.
Pelosi added that the public humiliation Hill faced was "shameful" and that her rights may have been violated.
"Regardless of any errors in judgment that anyone may have made, it's shameful that she's been exposed to public humiliation by way of cyber exploitation ... Countless women across America have been subjected to this type of harassment and abuse which is a profound violation of those women's rights or any -- men too-- and human dignity," she said.