Barney Frank Does Not Have Sympathy For Aaron Schock

When told the congressman was resigning, Frank assumed (incorrectly) it was because of gay rumors.

Barney Frank, never particularly guarded with an opinion, had a lot of thoughts about Congressman Aaron Schock in the wake of Schock’s planned resignation from office. Among the more colorful ones: “I have to say, if [the gay rumors are] not true, he spent entirely too much time in the gym for a straight man.”

Schock, the 33-year-old congressman from Illinois—known as much for his Instagrammable abs as his legislative record—resigned following months of inquiries into his office’s finances. Schock, who is single and identifies as straight, has long faced rumors to the contrary. Frank, who is doing the press rounds to publicize his new memoir—including a lengthy interview with Boston—was sitting down with Business Insider when the news of Schock’s resignation broke. The former Massachusetts congressman wondered (incorrectly) whether the resignation had come because of those rumors.

“He was outed or what?” he asked his interviewer.

He wasn’t, although the accusations of financial impropriety tended to carry with them the media’s not-so-subtle implications of gayness. Schock used money from his official office budget to redecorate his office in the style of PBS’s Downton Abbey, though he included portraits of Republican presidents on the walls. (Frank: “I suppose you could say, from a certain angle, Herbert Hoover does look a little bit like Maggie Smith.”) He also improperly took money to take a photographer with him on a foreign trip—a young, attractive, male photographer whom Wonkette and others openly suggested might be something more than a personal staffer.

Frank himself knows a lot about facing the swirl of gay rumors, though the media’s rules in the years before he came out of the closet in 1987 afforded him a lot more privacy. As he wrote in his memoir, excerpted by Politico:

[The media] remained committed to the “rule” that prominent people should not be outed unless they had been enmeshed in a gay-related scandal.

When an anti-gay Republican had been exposed for soliciting sex from an underaged male prostitute, he resigned and wrote a memoir that clearly implied Frank was gay. Even then, the media waited to break the story until Frank was ready.

Frank claimed no inside knowledge on Schock’s sexuality, but he expressed no sympathy at Schock’s treatment by the modern media, which has not only refused to stay away from the topic of Schock’s sex life, but basically rejected his repeated insistences at heterosexuality. If he is gay, Frank told Business Insider, he forfeits the right to privacy by voting against gay marriage and other LGBT agenda items:

My view is that people who are gay who vote to support the right of other people to do it have a right to privacy, but the right to privacy does not include hypocrisy.

For now, though, Shock’s only resignation-worthy hypocrisies seem to surround his finances. However, he’ll join Barney Frank in the ranks of “former U.S. congressmen” on March 31, and if he’s anything like Frank, the position will leave him free to say basically whatever he likes about his former colleagues.