South Carolina Republican Representative Nancy Mace was widely mocked after she wore a "scarlet letter" to protest how she was "demonized" for her involvement in the removal of now-former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
In response, she appeared in the House wearing a white shirt with a prominent red letter "A." She claimed that this attire was symbolic of the "scarlet letter" she felt she was bearing.
“I’m wearing the ‘scarlet letter’ after the week that I just had, last week, being a woman up here and being demonized for my vote and for my voice."
You can see it in the video below.
Mace's gesture, however, seemed to miss the point on two significant fronts. Firstly, her disapproval stemmed from reasons beyond what she suggested. And secondly, her reference to The Scarlet Letter, a 19th-century novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, didn't align with its actual narrative.
The Scarlet Letter tells the story of a woman named Hester Prynne who, in the Puritan society of the time, becomes pregnant through an affair, which was considered a grave sin. She is then forced to wear a scarlet letter "A" as a symbol of her punishment for adultery.
Mace's decision to wear the letter "A" appeared to be a misinterpretation of the novel's themes and message. The novel's narrative revolves around societal shame, ostracism, and moral judgment, which contrasted sharply with the circumstances of Mace's vote to oust McCarthy.
Mace has been criticized for missing the point.
Mace was one of eight Republicans who supported the motion to vacate in order to remove McCarthy from his position. The effort was initiated by Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz.
Significantly, Mace was the only woman among the eight Republican representatives involved in this decision, a fact that contributed to the criticism and controversy surrounding her.
Moreover, Mace drew attention for her endorsement of Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan as a potential successor to McCarthy, despite her prior advocacy for victims of sexual assault.
Jordan has faced accusations of failing to address sexual abuse complaints during his time as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan has consistently denied these allegations.
Last week, Mace was accused of hypocrisy for attempting to fundraise off her vote to oust McCarthy, a move that has been criticized for violating House Ethics rules by fundraising from inside the Capitol Building.