Gillibrand slams 'backward' GOP candidate who blocked female reporter's access
© Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandMaloney primary challenger calls on her to return, donate previous campaign donations from Trump Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee She Should Run launches initiative to expand number of women in political process MORE (D-N.Y.), a 2020 White House hopeful, on Thursday called out a “backward” male Republican gubernatorial candidate in Mississippi who blocked a reporter’s access because she’s a woman.

“If your view of women is so backward in 2019 that you can’t be alone with a reporter doing her job, what the hell are you doing trying to be the governor of a whole state?” she tweeted.

Mississippi Today reporter Larrison Campbell said that state Rep. Robert Foster's campaign told her that a “male colleague would need to accompany her” on a campaign trip because the “optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair."

ADVERTISEMENT

Foster said in a statement to The Hill on Wednesday that before deciding to run, he and his wife said they’d follow the “Billy Graham rule” to “avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage.”

After gaining national attention for the move, Foster on Thursday doubled down on his decision.

"I didn’t want to end up in a situation where me and Miss Campbell were alone for extended period of time throughout that 16-hour day. And so, out of precaution, I wanted to have her bring someone with her, a male colleague," he told CNN. "The other thing I think is important to point out is this is my truck and in my truck we go by my rules. And that's my rule."

Campbell, who appeared live on the network as Foster called in, asked Foster why he thinks it seems improper for a man to be with a woman, adding that “unless at the end of the day what you're saying here is a woman is a sexual object first and a reporter second.”

Foster said as a "married man" he made a vow to his wife to "not be alone with somebody of the opposite sex throughout our marriage."

Campbell replied: "How can you do your job? How can you tell Mississippians that you will be a good governor if you can't be alone in a room with a woman?"