Story highlights

Steve Krieg acknowledged that he's been called a sexist over the remarks

"I recognize her as a child, and it has nothing to do with her age. I see her as a child because she's a child," Krieg said

Washington CNN —  

A Democratic candidate for Congress called Rep. Elise Stefanik “a child” during a candidates’ forum, months after he referred to the 33-year-old New York Republican as a “little girl.”

Steve Krieg, an optometrist from Plattsburgh, New York, acknowledged that he’s been accused of being a sexist for his remarks calling her a “little girl” and “probably” deserves it.

“I recognize her – I’m not going to say a little girl – I recognize her as a child, and it has nothing to do with her age. I see her as a child because she’s a child. She thinks like a child. She has people set things up for her. She has people put their words in her mouth and she happily repeats them,” Krieg said Tuesday.

The comments were earlier reported by Politico.

Krieg came under fire in July when he posted a comment on Stefanik’s Facebook page that said, “I intend to kick your stingy, money-grubbing, sniveling coward of a butt out of Congress. Don’t worry, sweetie, you’re a little girl. You can always run home to Mommy and Daddy.”

Stefanik’s spokesman, Lenny Alcivar, replied to Krieg’s Facebook comment, the Press Republican of Plattsburgh reported, saying that the district didn’t need “more partisan, political rhetoric.” CNN has reached out to Stefanik for comment and has not yet received a response.

But the National Republican Congressional Committee called on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Friday to condemn Krieg’s comments, calling them “disgusting and sexist.”

“Congresswoman Stefanik is a leader and has vast accomplishments in and out of Washington,” NRCC spokesman Matt Gorman said in a news release. “Nancy Pelosi, the DCCC, and other Democratic candidates should condemn these comments and Steve Krieg should immediately apologize.”

Krieg said at the forum he has been accused of being a sexist because of his remarks.

“I have been accused of being sexist for calling Elise a little girl, and I probably deserve to be called a sexist,” he said. “I think most of us, if we admit it, have some of a sexist in us, some of a racist within us. It’s something if we’re decent people, we recognize in ourselves and we struggle with it all of our lives.”

Krieg did not respond to a CNN message asking for additional comment or clarification on his remarks.

Krieg, who is also a member of the Plattsburgh City School Board of Education, recently switched to the Democratic Party because of his frustration with GOP lawmakers, The Watertown Daily Times reported.

CNN’s Katishi Maake contributed to this report.