House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello broke his silence Friday about embattled Democratic Party official Joe DeLorenzo, saying that DeLorenzo should apologize for critical remarks about progressives and for questioning Rep. Teresa Tanzi's account of experiencing sexual harassment.
“There is absolutely no place in society for any type of harassment, particularly sexual harassment," Mattiello said in a statement Friday afternoon. "The work environment is a place where you must feel safe and secure. I stand strongly with women, and any type of harassment is deplorable."
“The comments made by Joe DeLorenzo were insensitive and out of place with societal values," Mattiello continued. "I will speak with Joe and suggest and expect that he will apologize for his comments. Regretfully, his remarks began as part of the local and national trend where the left and the right within our party are attacking one another, which is completely inappropriate.These ideological attacks must stop and we must respect every viewpoint within the party. I will work with the progressives, moderates and conservatives to make sure that the Democratic Party is inclusive of everyone.”
Mattiello, through his spokesman, had previously declined to respond to questions about whether DeLorenzo should resign.
Earlier, a growing number of Rhode Island elected officials called for DeLorenzo to resign from his longtime post as 2nd vice chairman of the state Democratic Party, after he used a radio interview to question Rep. Tanzi's account of experiencing sexual harassment at the Statehouse.