A Florida congressional candidate apologized Tuesday for eyebrow-raising remarks to supporters that Hillary Clinton “is under no illusions that you want to have sex with her, or that she's going to seduce you."
Democrat Joe Garcia’s candid comments were caught on camera by a so-called political “tracker,” The Miami Herald reported. Garcia was speaking at a Key West Democratic campaign office opening on Saturday.
“I apologize for my poorly worded comment about Secretary Clinton,” Garcia said in a Tuesday statement. “My comments were intended to speak to Secretary Clinton’s relentless focus on getting the job done, despite the unjust gender stereotypes and biases women in public life are frequently subjected to. Hillary Clinton is the most competent and qualified presidential candidate in the history of this country, man or woman and I'm with her, because I'm confident she will be one of our country’s most effective leaders.”
With Garcia in the stretch run of a tight race to win back his old congressional seat from vulnerable incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Florida Republicans pounced on the "sexist" remarks.
"It's shameful and disgusting that Joe Garcia would describe Hillary Clinton's qualifications to serve as president in terms of whether or not he would have sexual relations with her," National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Katie Martin said in a statement.
The Herald reported that the video was recorded upside down and shows Garcia standing in a hallway talking to a few other men before addressing the crowd. At one point, Garcia said Clinton’s potential presidency would be “the most consequential presidency that we’ve seen since Lyndon Johnson.”
“Lyndon Johnson wasn't a particularly charming man, wasn't a particularly nice man: He would ask you nice, and then when you didn't do it, he made you do it,” Garcia said. “And Hillary is under no illusions that you want to have sex with her, or that she's going to seduce you, or out-think you.”
Garcia later said: “I don’t want to be offensive to women. What I’m talking about is exactly that: It’s getting it done.”
Asked why he would talk about supporters having sex with Clinton, Garcia at first defended his comments in a statement to The Herald.
"I believe Secretary Clinton is the most competent and qualified presidential candidate in the history of this country, man or woman," he said. "My comments speak to Secretary Clinton's focus on getting things done, and not on the gender stereotypes and biases women in public life are frequently subjected to. I fully support Hillary Clinton for president, and I'm confident she will be one of our country's most effective presidents."
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.