Defending Kirsten Gillibrand: No One Needs A Campaign Contribution That Badly [Opinion]

Jacquelyn MartinAP Images

When people are desperate for money, they sometimes do things they would not normally do.

We have all heard stories of people who hit the casinos, knock over convenience stores, or, harking back to The Gift of the Magi, cut off their long golden locks just to buy a Christmas present.

In a particularly vicious and crude morning tweet today, President Donald Trump suggested Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) would do something far more drastic in exchange for campaign contributions.

“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.”

Meat Loaf’s philosophy about love also applies to money — even if Kirsten Gillibrand would do anything for money, she wouldn’t do that.

The president’s attack was not unexpected, though the coarseness of it was surprising even by Trump standards.

If someone attacks Trump, he fights back, and he does it in his own way. And make no doubt about it, Sen. Gillibrand launched a broadside against the president on Monday when she called for him to resign over the sexual misconduct allegations that have dogged Trump since the release of the Access Hollywood video in October.

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour of CNN, Gillibrand made it clear Trump should be held accountable for his alleged assaults on women.

“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign.”

A wiser politician might have ignored Gillibrand’s statement, but these are strange times and this is not a wiser politician. Trump’s tweet came on the same day Alabama voters are deciding whether to elect a candidate who has come under fire for alleged sexual assault and misconduct, Roy Moore, to the U.S. Senate and one day after three women, claiming they had been victimized by the president, asked for his resignation and a Congressional investigation.

Trump also tweeted about the women today, but he reserved particular vitriol for Gillibrand and it appears to already be backfiring.

Not only did Trump draw more attention to Gillibrand’s original comment with his tweet, but he attacked her in such a way that it made all of the sexual misconduct and assault allegations against him seem that much more credible.

The timing of the Gillibrand-Trump exchange comes as America is coming to a new understanding about just how extensive sexual harassment and misconduct have been in our society.

Even with that, Trump brings a misogynistic tone to his comments that makes his treatment of women far beyond typical sexual harassment and far outside the bounds of decency.

From his comments about Megyn Kelly’s “bleeding” following the first Republican presidential debate to his sneering that Hillary Clinton was a “nasty woman,” Trump has shown a clear disapproval of women in powerful positions.

Suggesting that Kirsten Gillibrand would be willing to have sex with him in exchange for a couple of thousand dollars not only exaggerates his political and financial importance, but it also strains credibility to the point of being laughable.

Gillibrand did not take Trump’s Twitter attack lying down (perhaps an unfortunate choice of words). She tweeted back a response to let the president know that she did not plan to stand for his tasteless comments.

“You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office.”

Undoubtedly, it will not take long for Trump to resume his attack on Gillibrand. After all, she did suggest that he step down, so he had to respond, didn’t he?

Of course, four other senators — Bernie Sanders (I-Connecticut), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) — have also called on Trump to resign.

As of this writing, Trump has not attacked any of those senators. He has made no suggestions that Bernie Sanders would be willing “to do anything” for a campaign contribution. Of course, the other four senators are men.

Once a bully, always a bully.