Anti-gay tirade? Inappropriate touching? Claims made after bizarre exchange between lawmakers

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The voice on the other end of the speakerphone identified himself as a reporter for the national tabloid show “Inside Edition.”

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) patiently gave his side of the story Wednesday afternoon from his Capitol office.

“I’ve told him in the past to stop touching me, to knock it off, and he continued with his inappropriate physical contact,” Metcalfe explained.

It wasn’t the only national interview Metcalfe did on Wednesday. He’s getting lots of attention for an exchange Tuesday with Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery). It’s also been the buzz at the Capitol. Metcalfe reacted when Bradford, who was sitting next to him, touched his arm to emphasize a point.

“I’m a heterosexual,” Metcalfe said as Bradford was speaking and touching. “I have a wife. I love my wife. I don’t like men, as you might, but stop touching me all the time. Keep your hands to yourself. If you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it. I don’t.”

Bradford was also fielding calls Wednesday and said he’s still stunned 24 hours after the exchange.

“I think I nervous laughed for a second because I’m thinking this is a joke,” Bradford recalled. “And then it keeps going down, down, down and really to a bad place. That shock is real.”

Bradford says he is, by nature, a hand talker and suspects Metcalfe is, by nature, homophobic.

“That’s outrageous,” Metcalfe recoils at the suggestion. “I think we all deserve respect and deserve to have our rights preserved and protected.”

Even gay people?

“That’s correct. Whether you’re homosexual or heterosexual,” Metcalfe said.

The Capitol Christmas tree is in place and about to be lit.

Christmas music fills the Rotunda daily.

The Christmas spirit, however, has not yet arrived.

“We’re not buddies,” Metcalfe said of Bradford. “We’re not friends. I don’t want to be touched by another man repeatedly that’s not a relative or a close personal friend.”

“It was offensive and you knew it,” Bradford says of Metcalfe’s comments. “It is offensive. That’s a statement of fact. It’s not subjective.”

Gov. Tom Wolf called Metcalfe’s remarks offensive and discriminatory and suggested he shouldn’t be the chairman of a committee that routinely deals with civil rights legislation.

Metcalfe said it’s not the first time Democrats have called on him to resign or be removed and it likely won’t be the last.

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