Senator Gillibrand calls Trump Twitter
post 'sexist smear'
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[December 13, 2017]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand fired back at President Donald Trump on Tuesday and
said she would not be silenced after he attacked her on Twitter for
calling for an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment and
misconduct against him.
Six U.S. senators, including Gillibrand, have said Trump should resign.
Trump lambasted Gillibrand on Twitter on Tuesday writing, "Lightweight
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone
who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so
long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting
against Trump." Schumer is the Senate Democratic leader.
Gillibrand, whose name has been floated as a possible Democratic
presidential candidate in 2020, said she would not back down.
"It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice, and I will not be
silenced on this issue," she told reporters at a news conference.
Trump did not answer a reporter's question at a White House event later
on Tuesday when asked what he meant by the tweet.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, told that some people thought
Trump's tweet contained sexual innuendo, said, "Only if your mind is in
the gutter would you have read it that way ... it's obviously talking
about political partisan games that people often play and the broken
Sanders told a regular White House briefing that Trump had used similar
language previously to refer to men of both major parties.
Other Democratic lawmakers rallied behind Gillibrand, including U.S.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, another possible 2020 presidential candidate.
In a tweet directed at Trump, Warren wrote on Tuesday, "Are you really
trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @SenGillibrand? Do you know
who you're picking a fight with? Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump.
U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump's attack on
Gillibrand was "nasty, unbecoming of a president," but he did not join
her call for Trump to resign the presidency over sexual misconduct
More than a dozen women have accused Trump, a New York-based real estate
developer and former reality television star, of making unwanted sexual
advances against them years before he entered politics. Trump, a
Republican, has denied the allegations.
Reuters has not independently verified the accusations against Trump.
Interest in accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct came to the
fore again on Monday when three women who had previously accused Trump
of misconduct called on the U.S. Congress to investigate his behavior.
On Tuesday, a fourth woman who had also previously made similar
accusations backed their call for an investigation during an interview
Nearly 60 female Democratic U.S. lawmakers called for an investigation
in a letter on Monday.
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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a news
conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 12, 2017.
By Tuesday, the group said many male colleagues had also joined on,
bringing the number to more than 100 lawmakers in the U.S. House of
Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican chairman of the House Oversight
Committee, responded to the group in a letter on Tuesday that said, "The
specific allegations set forth in your letter constitute crimes," both
federal and state.
Gowdy noted that congressional panels cannot prosecute crimes so he was
forwarding the group's letter to the Justice Department. He added that
any charges not alleging crimes should go to the House Judiciary
Committee, which has jurisdiction over "allegations related to fitness
for office and non-criminal matters."
Trump has called the accusations fabricated stories and he has said he
did not know his accusers.
On Monday, Gillibrand called the allegations credible and called on
Trump to resign over them.
The attention to sexual harassment accusations against Trump comes amid
a wave of similar accusations against prominent men in Hollywood, the
media and politics in recent months.
Federal Election Commission records showed Trump gave $4,800 to
Gillibrand's Senate campaign in 2010, and that he donated $2,100 to her
in 2007 while she was a member of the House of Representatives.
Concerns over sexual impropriety have become a political issue the
United States, leading to the resignations of two Democratic and one
Republican lawmaker. Reuters has not independently verified accusations
The issue of sexual harassment has also become central to Tuesday's U.S.
Senate election in Alabama after accusations of misconduct were made
against Republican candidate Roy Moore.
The White House said on Monday that the women's accusations against
Trump were false and "totally disputed in most cases by eyewitness
accounts" and later promised to provide a list of those accounts to
On Tuesday, the White house sent a list of three 2016 media reports,
including a New York Post interview with a British man who disputed one
of the accusers' accounts of alleged groping and said he never saw it
happen. It also included New York Daily News and CNN reports with two
other former pageant participants supporting Trump.
(Reporting by Makini Brice; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and
Lisa Lambert; Editing by Susan Heavey and Adlen Bentley)
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