Now in DC Spotlight: Kirsten Gillibrand

She led the charge against fellow Democrat Al Franken
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2017 1:22 PM CST
Dems' Kirsten Gillibrand: Hero for Women or 'Hypocrite'?
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, answers a question about her statement on Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., at the end of a news conference on sexual harassment in the workplace on Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The demise of Al Franken's career in the US Senate was hastened along by members of his own party who called for him to step down amid sexual misconduct allegations. Chief among them: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who helped turn up the heat on Franken this week by saying he should resign. Politico notes her sudden moment in the spotlight and accompanying media coverage, especially relevant considering her past advocacy for sexual assault victims. But it's proving to be a delicate balancing act, as to stay true to her stance on the matter she's had to ditch fellow Democrats Franken and Bill Clinton, who she recently said should have resigned after his affair with Monica Lewinsky was revealed. More on Gillibrand from around the internet:

  • The New York Times takes a similar look back at Gillibrand's past efforts in the name of sexual assault victims and women's issues overall, including going after rape in the military and forming a PAC that encourages women to run for office. Also of note: how Gillibrand has had to navigate dealing with accusations against Franken, whom she's called a "friend," and Clinton, who campaigned for her before she was voted into Congress in 2006.

  • A former aide to Hillary Clinton doesn't appreciate Gillibrand's moves of late. Per the Hill, Philippe Reines appeared on Fox's Tucker Carlson Tonight on Thursday and slammed her for "not putting in context" why she's going around calling for Dems' resignations. He recently called her a "hypocrite" regarding her take on Clinton, noting on Fox that Gillibrand "never said … she regretted not speaking earlier, or taking the Clintons' support or money."
  • CNN makes note of the fact that Gillibrand's name has been floated as a possible 2020 contender for president, and that her maneuvering on the sexual misconduct front could put her in the perfect spot to take on Trump, who himself is facing down multiple accusations. But allies say Gillibrand's recent motives aren't political—they're simply an addition to her already established list of efforts on this front.
  • Writing for the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus agrees with Gillibrand's overall position that "none of it is acceptable" when it comes to sexual misconduct, whether it's harassment, groping, or assault. Still, Marcus wonders about the "rush to judgment and the one-size-fits-all nature of the punishment," as Franken's alleged transgressions pale in comparison with those of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and President Trump.
  • Amy Wolfcale takes Gillibrand to task for promoting a "false equivalency" between what Franken allegedly did and some of the more serious accusations out there. "To be sure I don't want my daughter to have to dodge unwanted kisses," she writes at HuffPost. "But the idea that someone might abduct her, drive her to a deserted spot in the country, and assault her is the stuff of horror movies. There is no equivalency."
(More Kirsten Gillibrand stories.)

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