WASHINGTON — During her daily briefing on Tuesday, White House
press secretary Sarah Sanders defended President Trump against
criticism that a tweet he wrote suggesting that Sen. Kirsten
Gillibrand, D-N.Y., would “do anything” for donations was
inappropriate sexual innuendo.
Sanders argued that the president’s meaning was “very obvious”
and not “sexist at all.”
“This is the same sentiment that the president has expressed
many times before when he has exposed the corruption of the
entire political system,” Sanders said.
sent the tweet in question on Tuesday morning, a day after
Gillibrand said he should resign over multiple allegations of
sexual assault that have been made against him.
“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,”
the president wrote.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. (Photo: Kevin
The comment about Gillibrand being willing to “do anything” was
widely attacked as sexual innuendo by critics. Gillibrand also
denounced the comment during a press briefing on Capitol Hill.
“It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice, and I
will not be silenced on this issue,” she said.
As she was repeatedly asked about the tweet, Sanders framed it
as an extension of Trump’s past claim that the system is
“rigged” in favor of political donors. When ABC News’ Cecilia
Vega asked what the president was “alleging would happen behind
closed doors” with Gillibrand, Sanders said Trump was “not
“He’s talking about the way that our system functions as it is
that politicians repeatedly beg for money. That’s not something
new and that comment frankly isn’t something new if you look
back at past comments that this president has made,” said
During last year’s presidential race, Trump regularly railed
against what he described as a “rigged” system and vowed to
“drain the swamp” if he was elected. Critics have argued that
his appointment of Wall Street executives and Washington
veterans in his administration was a violation of that pledge.
Sanders claimed that Gillibrand was a particularly egregious
example of this “rigged system.”
“I don’t think that there’s probably many people that are more
controlled by political contributions than the senator that the
president referenced,” Sanders said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., attends a news conference on
Tuesday. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Trump, a former Democrat who frequently gave cash to New York
politicians, donated $7,950 to
Gillibrand’s House and Senate campaigns between 2007 and
2010. On the campaign trail, Trump boasted that his
contributions took advantage of the political system during his
Yahoo News asked Sanders what, specifically, he received for
these contributions to Gillibrand. Sanders did not cite any
specific examples but said generally that politicians offer
“access” in exchange for donations.
“A member of Congress will take your phone call. They’ll take
your meeting and, if you’re driving something as a businessman
that the president may or may not have been driving at any
particular point, you can talk to that individual about it and
sometimes they carry your water,” Sanders said. “That’s the
reason that we have a broken system. That’s the reason that
often special interests control our government more than the
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