At Macomb Co. event, Lucido says he’s been advised not to discuss his sexist comments to a reporter

By: - January 17, 2020 2:16 pm

Sen. Peter Lucido at a Washington Township coffee hour, Jan. 17, 2020 | Ken Coleman

After giving several media interviews this week, state Sen. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.) repeatedly told constituents and reporters on Friday that he would not discuss in detail his sexist comments made Tuesday to a Michigan Advance reporter.

Lucido said at a scheduled coffee hour in Washington Township that he has been advised not to comment further until a Michigan Senate investigation is complete on his conversations with reporter Allison Donahue, who wrote a story Wednesday morning.

At the behest of state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint), the Senate Business Office on Wednesday launched a formal investigation into the report of sexual harassment.

“At this point, there are Senate rules that are in place. At the end of the day, I did apologize to her [Donahue],” he said, apparently referring to his short statement Wednesday morning on Twitter.

As of this story’s publication, Lucido still has not apologized directly to Donahue, nor has he contacted any member of the Advance’s staff.

Lucido continued, “If it is something that she can accept, I’d appreciate it. If there is more that I have to [do], she can communicate it through the Senate. I have been on the record already. I’m sorry that this all occurred.”

However, Lucido has given a number of media interviews Wednesday and Thursday — after the investigation was announced — in which he has given multiple versions of their conversations. He even claimed Donahue misquoted him after telling the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday morning after the story came out that he hadn’t been. The Advance stands by its reporting.

The New York Times, CNN, BBC and dozens of state, national and international outlets have covered the story.

During the 90-minute Macomb County meeting, Lucido was asked about the Tuesday incident at the state Capitol. Luicido told Donahue that a group of visiting De La Salle Collegiate schoolboys he was with “could have a lot of fun” with her. 

Donahue told Luicido that his comments were unprofessional, to which Luicido cut her off and told her, “I said it to an all girls’ school last week, ‘How would you like to have all the boys from the Senate come over?’”

Sen. Peter Lucido at a Washington Township coffee hour, Jan. 17, 2020 | Ken Coleman

As for his media interviews on Wednesday and Thursday, Lucido told reporters Friday that they were conducted before he was advised not to speak about the incident because of the investigation — the results of which may not be publicly released. Lucido declined to say who advised him. 

The first-term senator said that the situation is “unfortunate” and that he hopes the investigation progresses swiftly.

Lucido is the Senate majority whip and serves as chair of both the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety, Advice and Consent committees.

Roger Van Pamel of Washington Township, who was wearing a red Trump “Keep America Great Again” baseball cap, attended the meeting and said he was supportive of Lucido about his comments to the reporter. 

Roger Van Pamel | Ken Coleman

“What the senator said, yeah it can be taken another way,” Van Pamel said. “But you know what, we’ve gotta draw a line, ya know. Let’s stop and think a little bit. This whole country is like this now.”

Gabrielle Bratic also attended the meeting and praised Donahue for calling out Lucido. Bratic encouraged the lawmaker to understand the power of his words and to apologize to Michigan residents — especially women. 

“He represents Michigan on the committees that he sits,” Bratic said. “I don’t think that he understands the power that he has.”

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.