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Nancy Mace says she's 'actually surprised' her scarlet letter shirt got so much attention: 'It got way more than it should have'

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters while wearing a bright red “A” across her shirt on October 10, 2023.
Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters while wearing a bright red Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Rep. Nancy Mace recently walked into a party meeting wearing a giant "A" on her shirt.

  • She said her "scarlet letter" symbolized how she'd been "demonized" for her vote to oust McCarthy.

  • But she later claimed to be surprised that it got attention, saying it really shouldn't have.

Earlier this month, Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina wore a shirt emblazoned with a bright red "A" to a closed-door conference meeting amid the three-week-long effort to elect a new speaker.

At the time, she said she was making a statement about how she had been "demonized" for being among the eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy from the speakership the previous week.

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"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," she told reporters at the time.

It was an obvious reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter," a book published in 1950 in which a woman is forced to wear a red letter "A" in public as punishment for committing adultery.

But when Insider asked her about the apparent stunt the following week as part of a story about the GOP's relationship with the attention economy, she said her constituents loved it.

"I went home this weekend, every person loved it. Loved it," she said. "I had the greatest homecoming welcome that I've had, I think ever, in my life."

But she also claimed that she didn't intend to garner so much attention.

"I'm actually surprised it got the amount of attention it did," she said, later adding that "it got way more than it should have."

It wasn't the first stunt Mace had pulled such a stunt — last year following the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, the South Carolina congresswoman wore a jacket with "My State is Banning Exceptions" taped to the back of it.

Mace wearing a jacket with a message on the back at the Capitol in July 2022.
Mace wearing a jacket with a message on the back at the Capitol in July 2022.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Mace has faced ridicule from her Republican colleagues since she voted to vacate the office of the speaker on October 3rd.

She argued at the time that McCarthy had broken promises to her, including with regard to moving bills to address women's issues. She later became a strong supporter of Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio's candidacy before voting to elect Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana to the speakership.

Mace has been aggressively fundraising since her vote on the motion to vacate, claiming that "the establishment" is coming after her.

At one point, she apparently violated House ethics rules by asking Fox News viewers to donate to her campaign as she did a TV interview inside a federal House office building.

Read the original article on Business Insider