Feud with Trump boosts Gillibrand

Feud with Trump boosts Gillibrand
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Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Senate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Howard Schultz to be featured in Fox News town hall MORE (D-N.Y.) hit the political jackpot on Tuesday after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE triggered a full-fledged feud with the possible 2020 contender in a suggestive tweet that said she “would do anything” in return for money.

Trump lashed out a day after Gillibrand said he should resign over allegations of sexual misconduct from more than a dozen women.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Why we need to build gateway now Campaign to draft Democratic challenger to McConnell starts raising funds MORE 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,” the president tweeted on Tuesday morning.

“Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!” he added, a reference to Gillibrand’s statement that former President Clinton should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

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Gillibrand didn’t wait an hour before she punched back.

“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,” she wrote on Twitter. She highlighted the comment again later, calling Trump’s tweet a “sexist smear.”

Other Democrats, including potential rivals to Gillibrand in 2020, were quick to defend her after Trump’s attack, even as some acknowledged her good fortune.

“This is a fight Gillibrand is dying to have,” said Democratic strategist Christy Setzer. “Not only does he elevate her to a national conversation, it’s even on brand — Gillibrand gets to show that she’s a smart fighter unwilling to be cowed by sexists. Who doesn’t want to watch her punch back after that disgusting comment?”

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina O'Rourke sees 'a lot of wisdom' in abolishing Electoral College MORE (D-Calif.) rushed to support Gillibrand, retweeting the New York senator’s retort to Trump.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery GOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Warren introduces petition to end the Electoral College MORE (D-Mass.) took it a step further in a tweet that raised eyebrows.

“Are you really trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @Sen-
Gillibrand? Do you know who you’re picking a fight with?” Warren wrote on Twitter. 

“Good luck with that, @real-
DonaldTrump,” she continued before adding her own Democratic rallying cry of “#ShePersisted,” a strategic effort to insert herself into the conversation, one strategist said. 

The fight accelerates Gillibrand’s rise in public attention in recent weeks after she said Clinton should have resigned and then became the first Democratic senator last week to call on Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGillibrand defends her call for Franken to resign Gillibrand: Aide who claimed sexual harassment was 'believed' Kirsten Gillibrand officially announces White House run MORE (D-Minn.) to step down.

Patti Solis Doyle, the Democratic strategist who served as campaign manager for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Dem strategist says Donna Brazile is joining Fox News 'for the money' CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina MORE’s 2008 presidential campaign, said the last two weeks had burnished Gillibrand’s image as an advocate for women and a powerful voice against sexual harassment.

“Yes, of course she should be doing this,” she said. “You cannot say that Al Franken should resign and not say that the president of the United States shouldn’t resign for the same thing — and his allegations are worse.” 

“I think her focus on this issue is genuine,” Solis Doyle added. “It’s been her signature issue as a senator and by happenstance or circumstance it is the singular issue that is driving women. She is well-positioned to be at the center and on the forefront of this debate.”

Some Democrats eyeing a 2020 run had to be envious of Gillibrand, who publicly says she is not considering a White House run.

In recent weeks she has capitalized on the surge of attention being paid to women coming forward to publicly accuse their harassers, a topic dominating headlines.

Democrats also expect the senator to easily fundraise off the remarks and pull in upward of seven figures, building on a combination of the party’s visceral reaction to Trump and also the powerful moment for women. 

All the attention is helpful for a politician who is relatively unknown on the national stage.

A University of New Hampshire poll in October measuring support for Democratic candidates years ahead of the 2020 state primary found her with the support of just 1 percent of voters, a figure that likely reflects her relative obscurity.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAlan Dershowitz: In defense of Chelsea Clinton O'Rourke: Decisions on late-term abortions 'best left to a woman and her doctor' CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina MORE (I-Vt.) got 31 percent of the vote, while former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenTrump: 'I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be' Poll: Biden rises to 8-point lead over Sanders among Democratic primary voters Andrew Yang draws crowd of 3,000 in San Francisco MORE won 24 percent. Warren received 13 percent, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerCNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina O'Rourke sees 'a lot of wisdom' in abolishing Electoral College Gillibrand: Aide who claimed sexual harassment was 'believed' MORE (D-N.J.) 6 percent and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg 2 percent.

Harris, like Gillibrand, got 1 percent.

If she wants lasting power heading into the 2020 race, where as many as 30 Democrats are expected to run, Democratic strategists and other political observers say Gillibrand will need to do more, particularly if other Democrats follow her lead. 

“Holding Trump accountable is an absolute necessity, but the 2020 Democratic primary has to be more than just a contest of who can punch the hardest,” said Democratic strategist Phil Singer. “The trick is for Gillibrand to show how her efforts to hold him accountable demonstrate her leadership chops. She did that with Franken successfully.” 

Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said while Gillibrand still needs to work on her lack of national name recognition, her political moments of late are helping her achieve a high-profile status.

“There’s not enough gold in the world to buy that kind of PR for Gillibrand,” Bannon said.