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Congressman compares Warren to Darth Vader

Senator Elizabeth Warren.Jacquelyn Martin/AP/file 2015

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren criticized US Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer Thursday for making a “sexist and offensive” comment about her at an American Bankers Association meeting in Washington.

The Missouri congressman said that the banking industry needs to “neuter” Warren in an address on Wednesday to the powerful trade association of financial services industry officials.

He also compared Warren to a character from “Star Wars,” saying she’s the “Darth Vader of the financial services world.”

The comments were reported via Twitter Wednesday by Joseph Lawler, a reporter with the Washington Examiner who attended the bankers’ event.

Luetkemeyer’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


Warren’s outrage over the comment wasn’t initially apparent. Lacey Rose, a spokeswoman for Warren, didn’t reply Wednesday to an inquiry from the Globe about the remarks.

On Thursday afternoon, in a Warren fund-raising e-mail titled “I won’t be neutered,” Warren wrote: “Why would he go out of his way to say something so sexist and offensive? Is he hostile to all women? Clueless? Afraid?”

She also disliked being compared to the “Star Wars” villain. “My first thought was: Really? I’ve always seen myself more as a Princess Leia-type,” Warren wrote.

Warren ended the message with a plea for donations. “Let’s send the big banks and their buddies in Congress a message: They can try to roll back financial reform and they can have a few laughs about the woman they want to neuter, but we’re ready to fight back anytime anywhere,” she wrote.

UltraViolet, a women’s group, on Wednesday called on Luetkemeyer to apologize, saying the comment was “offensive, sexist and out of line.”

UltraViolet blamed the heated rhetoric coming from the Republican presidential campaign for creating an environment in which Luetkemeyer felt comfortable making his remarks.

“Comments like these, which sound eerily similar to something that Donald Trump would say, have no place in American politics and speak to the impact that Donald Trump is having on the discourse coming out of the Republican party,” said Nita Chaudhary, cofounder of UltraViolet.


Annie Linskey can be reached at annie.linskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @annielinskey.