The ability to hold your own with the hosts of The View is not necessarily a prerequisite for a presidential run. But it doesn’t hurt.
On Monday, The View’s Joy Behar wanted to talk to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) about the sexual assault allegations against RNC finance chair Steve Wynn, but first she had a “bone to pick” with the New York Democrat.
As Behar pointed out, Gillibrand “led the charge” to get Al Franken to resign from the Senate. “I just thought that was unfair,” she told her guest, “to make him an example when the president of the United States had so many allegations of sexual harassment against him and I don’t see him going anywhere.”
Behar argued that Trump has been “forgiven” by his base because he denies that allegations against him while Franken “got booted out” because he “admitted” his.
“Let’s be clear,” Gillibrand said, trying to get a word in. Handling Trump first, she said he has “over a dozen allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment,” adding, “He should resign because of that. He should be held accountable. I have not heard that from any Republicans.
“Because he’s unwilling to resign, Congress should be doing hearings,” Gillibrand continued. “We should be having hearings and giving a space and voice for these women who so bravely have come forward, but President Trump has tried to silence all of them.”
“But why’d you push Franken out?” Behar asked, returning to the question that clearly interested her more.
“Al Franken is a friend of mine,” Gillibrand said. “He did great work in the Judiciary Committee, so it was really hard and really heartbreaking.” While Franken may have been “entitled to a hearing,” she added, “He’s not entitled to my silence, Joy.”
With “eight credible allegations” against him “from multiple women,” Gillibrand said it came down to what she would have to tell her young sons. “How am I supposed to tell him, it’s OK to grab a woman here, it’s OK to grab a woman here, but it’s not OK to grab a woman here?” she asked. “Absolutely not! I’m not going to have that conversation. That is the wrong conversation to be having.”
Gillibrand acknowledged that the allegations against Franken were “very different” from those that have been made against Trump, Wynn, or Roy Moore. But she pushed back against Behar’s charge of an “unequal equivalency” because “it is not OK to grab women without their consent,” period. “Why would you want to hold our elected leaders to the lowest standard instead of the highest standard?” she asked.
Despite the fact that Gillibrand said late last year that Bill Clinton should have resigned after his affair with Monica Lewinsky came to light, she was less definitive when asked about the story that broke this past week regarding Hillary Clinton’s decision not to fire a campaign aide who was accused of harassment.
“No one is above criticism,” Gillibrand said. “But in that case, I don’t know all the details. I don’t know if the punishment she chose was the right punishment.” She then pivoted to talk about workplace harassment more broadly without condemning Clinton’s actions.
By the end of the interview, however, Behar seemed to have come around on her guest. While Gillibrand insisted that she has no plans to run for president in 2020, the host was telling her, “I can see you in the White House.”