Democratic congresswoman Katie Porter (Calif.) claimed to be the only single mother in Congress in a fundraising email on Monday, erasing at least three of her House colleagues who are also single mothers.
Porter said in the email that she was "the only single, working mother of young kids" in Congress and that the pandemic "disproportionately" affected working mothers. Porter's email makes no mention of fellow Democratic Rep. Cori Bush (Mo.), a newly elected single mother of two.
The email also overlooks Republican Reps. Nancy Mace (S.C.) and Beth Van Duyne (Texas), who were elected to Congress in November as single mothers. Mace has two young children, a 14-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. Van Duyne, whose two children are college-age, has been a single mother for nearly a decade—including during the time she served as regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Secretary Ben Carson, and while she was mayor of Irving, Texas.
"I thought Democrats were supposed to be good at identity politics," Mace told the Washington Free Beacon. "Paging Rep. Porter, there are plenty of single moms in Congress. I’d be happy to introduce you."
Van Duyne said Porter's email "does a disservice" to all single mothers.
"Rep. Porter’s decision to throw facts to the wayside and brand herself as the only single mother in Congress—while discounting Nancy Mace and myself—does a disservice to every single mother out there," Van Duyne told the Free Beacon. "If Democrats were really the ‘party of women,' they would be inclusive of all women—not just the ones they agree with politically."
Despite the growing number of single mothers in the House, the Democratic-led chamber struck gendered language—including the term "mother"—from their new rulebook. "Mother," "father," "daughter," and "son" now appear in the official rules as "parent" or "sibling," thanks to the rule change, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D., Mass.) initially brought forward.
Neither Porter nor Bush responded to a request for comment.