Feud with Trump boosts Gillibrand

Feud with Trump boosts Gillibrand
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Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' MORE (D-N.Y.) hit the political jackpot on Tuesday after President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation 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 SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn 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.


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 HarrisThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Biden can rebuild trust in our justice system by prioritizing prosecutorial reform Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence MORE (D-Calif.) rushed to support Gillibrand, retweeting the New York senator’s retort to Trump.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Disney laying off 32,000 workers as coronavirus batters theme parks Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year 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 FrankenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory MORE (D-Minn.) to step down.

Patti Solis Doyle, the Democratic strategist who served as campaign manager for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Federal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work Biden soars as leader of the free world 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 SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation Clyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Prepare for buyers' remorse when Biden/Harris nationalize health care MORE (I-Vt.) got 31 percent of the vote, while former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE won 24 percent. Warren received 13 percent, Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerSenate Democrats reelect Schumer as leader by acclamation  Hill associations push for more diversity in lawmakers' staffs Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' 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.