Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDocumentary to be released on Gabby Giffords's recovery from shooting Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Connected Commerce Council - Biden faces reporters as his agenda teeters MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday defended her call for former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenMeet the Democrats' last best hope of preserving a House majority Franken rules out challenge against Gillibrand for Senate seat Franken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour MORE (D-Minn.) to resign from the Senate following sexual misconduct allegations against him, saying that she "stood up for women who came forward."
"If there are a few Democratic powerful donors who are angry because I stood up for women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, that's on them," Gillibrand said at an MSNBC town hall in Michigan.
"I had a choice to make whether to stay silent or not, whether to say 'it's not OK with me,' and I decided to say that," she added, saying that she wanted to set an example for her sons.
Sen. Gillibrand on Al Franken: "I had a choice whether to stay silent or not... And if there are few democratic powerful donors who are angry because I stood up for women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, that's on them." #AllIn2020 pic.twitter.com/1YHEvKkq8Z— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 19, 2019
Gillibrand was the first senator to call for Franken's resignation in 2017 after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct. She has used her call for him to resign to raise funds for her campaign.
"I knew that calling on Al Franken to resign was a risk, but silence wasn’t an option. I’m running for president to fight for a country that values women, and I’m ready to share this vision with the American people," she tweeted Monday. "Will you give $1 to help us bring our vision to the debate stage?"
I knew that calling on Al Franken to resign was a risk, but silence wasn’t an option. I’m running for president to fight for a country that values women, and I’m ready to share this vision with the American people. Will you give $1 to help us bring our vision to the debate stage?— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) March 19, 2019
Franken resigned in January 2018 amid pressure from Democratic lawmakers after the allegations surfaced.
Gillibrand has positioned herself as a strong advocate for women's rights but has faced criticism after reports surfaced that one of her aides resigned in protest over how Gillibrand's office handled a sexual harassment complaint.
The senator has defended her office's handling of the complaint, saying that the allegations against her male aide "did not rise to the level of sexual harassment."
She is one of several senators vying for the Democratic nomination, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisClyburn predicts Supreme Court contender J. Michelle Childs would get GOP votes Hispanics sour on Biden and Democrats' agenda as midterms loom Officer who directed rioters away from senators says Jan. 6 could have been a 'bloodbath' MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — No SALT, and maybe no deal Menendez goes after Sanders over SALT comments It's time for the Senate to vote: Americans have a right to know where their senators stand MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOver 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation Kelly pushes back on Arizona Democrats' move to censure Sinema Fiscal conservatives should support postal reform MORE (D-Mass.).