The woman who U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh directed his anger toward during a constituent event in the Chicago suburbs last week is speaking out about the much-publicized rant -- and coming forward about something Walsh allegedly said when the camera wasn't rolling.
Melissa Rakestraw, a 42-year-old letter carrier for the Postal Service, was captured in a video last weekend arguing with Rep. Walsh about the need for the U.S. Postal Service, big banks and other issues. When Rakestraw told Walsh that the Postal Service is needed to help businesses in rural areas, he screamed and cut her off. (Scroll down for video of the exchange)
During an appearance on "The Ed Show" Thursday night, Rakestraw had more to say about the incident. She told Ed Schultz she was surprised by the outburst, since the conversation had been civil up until that point. She also mentioned that none of the constituents were yelling at Walsh or even raising their voices. Schultz asked if she was intimidated by his behavior.
"You know, the only thing that scares me about Joe Walsh is his anti-worker ideologies, and his total disregard for facts," Rakestraw replied.
Mediaite has more on what Rakestraw claims happened next:
“At the end of the discussion, he came up to me, and he was face to face. The camera was either off or it couldn’t pick up the volume because he was speaking very low, just so that I could hear it. And earlier I had told him if he supports Darrell Issa‘s bill to reform the Post Office that 200,000 jobs could be lost. 20% of those employees are veterans. and Mr. Walsh came up to me. He said, ‘I do not care about the loss of public sector jobs.’”
After the video of Walsh screaming "Don't blame banks" went viral last week, the congressmen issued responded to various media outlets about the rant. He told the Capitol Fax Blog that he "working on an empty stomach and had a quicker fuse than normal." He also issued a statement:
“The woman I had the heated exchange with was great and she appreciated how open and unusual these events are. I apologized to her for getting a bit to passionate and she smiled and didn’t mind at all.”
I am that woman and I did in fact mind. You can clearly see in the video that when he gets in my face and is yelling I say, “stop screaming at me, I’m not screaming at you.” I thought that was a clear indication and communication that I did mind. Of course anyone that would behave the way Mr. Walsh does, wouldn’t be concerned with my true feelings on the matter. Mr. Walsh had no respect whatsoever for my boundaries and my direct request to stop screaming at me. There was a reason that I had placed the bar stool between myself and Mr. Walsh before he even went on the tirade, I did not want him in my space.
I have no recollection whatsoever of Mr. Walsh apologizing to me. I know for a fact he never said, “I’m sorry.”
Over the weekend, Walsh addressed the outburst during a meet-and-greet with voters in Huntley, Ill., Algonquin Patch reports.
“Alright, please pay attention; I don’t want to lose my temper,” Walsh said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
See the exchange with constituents here via District 116: