Before #MeToo was a movement, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was advocating for victims’ rights — in the military, on campus, and in her own party. Now, the junior senator from New York is calling for a reckoning on her own campus, Capitol Hill. She has called out the president of the United States and long-time Democratic allies like former President Bill Clinton and Senator Al Franken.
She took on Democratic icon Bill Clinton. In her Washington office she told us why she now believes Clinton should have resigned amid the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Democrats who questioned how she could campaign alongside Hillary, accept her senator seat, and remain friends with the Clintons challenged her. Gillibrand’s response: “Cause I wasn’t–I wasn’t focused on it in the way I am today. I didn’t have that lens. I–All of us. I– I think I’m not alone here. Like, how many of us were having this conversation even a year ago?”
When questioned on recent relations with the Clintons, her response, “Well, I don’t wanna talk about that, but– I can tell you one thing. I can tell you that– Hillary Clinton is still my greatest role model in politics.”
With nine years in the Senate, the 51-year old Gillibrand has emerged as the political face of the #MeToo movement. The #MeToo senator has prompted talk about her taking on President Trump in 2020. It is an ambition Gillibrand denies.
“Gillibrand has fully weaponized the #MeToo hashtag movement… with the intention of driving the female vote in the midterms, and ultimately sweeping herself into the Oval Office [in 2020].”
Following her endorsement of #MeToo, Senator Gillibrand’s approval ratings have fallen from 56% to 51%.
In the wake of Clinton vacating the NY senate for Secretary of State, many were worried “the ball would get dropped. But with Gillibrand, they are finding that they’re dealing with the same people.” claimed NY political activist, Karen Feldman. Gillibrand’s relations with the Clintons helped give her entree into the Manhattan fund-raising circuit when she first ran for the House in 2006, though her district was well afield of the Upper East Side. “Both Secretary of State Clinton and President Clinton embody the type of leadership I hope to bring to the State of New York,” said Gillibrand.
Gillibrand’s political relations with Democratic heavyweights go as far back as 2006, having the support of Nancy Pelosi. And while their friendship soured during Gillibrand’s advancement to Senate, the two were seen affectionately sharing a kiss in 2009.
In November 2017, Pelosi was blasted for having “set the #MeToo movement back 100 years”. While simultaneously defending political friend, Gillibrand, from the wrath of Trump. Claiming, “I don’t think he ever should have been president,” which was met with laughter.