Three women renewed their allegations against Trump in a Monday news conference
Trump responded on Twitter Tuesday morning
President Donald Trump used a suggestive tweet on Tuesday to attack a Democratic lawmaker who has called for his resignation after multiple women renewed their sexual misconduct allegations against him.
In a message posted just after 8 a.m. ET, Trump wrote Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, was a “lightweight” who would “do anything” for campaign contributions. Trump didn’t explain further what he meant.
“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. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!,” Trump tweeted.
Trump didn’t respond to shouted questions about his message during a midday signing ceremony for a defense spending bill in the White House Roosevelt Room. But later, his spokeswoman insisted that his comments reflected a broader indictment of a corrupt political culture.
“This is the same sentiment the President has expressed many times before,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said during the daily briefing. “The system is clearly broken and it’s clearly rigged for special interests. This President can’t be bought and it’s one of the reasons he’s President today.”
Sanders said Trump had long expressed similar sentiments, including about men, though didn’t cite any specific examples.
“He’s used that same terminology many times,” she said. “There is no way this is sexist at all.”
Gillibrand, who an aide said was in a morning Bible study session when Trump posted his message, responded shortly after, tweeting: “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.”
Speaking at a news conference later in the day, Gillibrand called Trump’s online insult derogatory.
“I see it as a sexist smear. I mean that’s what it is,” she said on Capitol Hill. “It’s part of the President’s efforts of name calling and it’s not going to silence me, it’s not going to silence me. It’s intended to silence me. It’s not going to silence the women who have stood up against him directly, and it’s not going to silence the millions of women who been speaking out every day since his inauguration about things they disagree with.”
Denying any sexual innuendo in Trump’s morning tweet, Sanders says any suggestion of impropriety was in the eye of the reader.
“Only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way,” Sanders said.
According to Federal Election Commission documents, Trump donated $4,800 to Gillibrand for Senate in 2010 and $2,100 to Gillibrand Victory Fund in 2007. A source close to Gillibrand said the senator did visit Trump in his office in 2010, and noted that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, was there the entire time.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren defended her Democratic colleague on Twitter, going after Trump for attacking Gillibrand.
“Are you really trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @SenGillibrand?” she wrote. “Do you know who you’re picking a fight with? Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump. Nevertheless, #shepersisted.”