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Kirsten Gillibrand Defiant, Sarah Sanders Defensive After Trump's 'Sexist Smear'

Kirsten Gillibrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand demanded Trump's resignation over sexual assault allegations against him. Naturally, he lashed out with a disgusting tweet.

In the wake of Democratic senators calling for Al Franken to resign over multiple sexual harassment allegations, a few stalwarts turned their attention to admitted serial predator Donald Trump and called for his resignation. Among those who stood up for survivors of abuse, and specifically, Trump's accusers, were Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

But as befits Trump's history of deep misogyny, he saved his ire and piggishness for the lone woman in the group, tweeting that she was so desperate for campaign contributions that she would "beg" him for them and was willing to "anything for them." But despite his attempt to force Gillibrand to back off from her position that he should resign, she is standing strong for herself, for his accusers, and for the millions of women who oppose him and his policies.

The backlash to his tweet was swift on social media and within the media. Within hours of his tweet, the Washington Post ran a story entitled "Trump's Disgusting Kirsten Gillibrand Tweet Is Just the Beginning of the #MeToo Backlash."

Gillibrand stopped short of calling Trump's tweet sexual harassment, which many on social media have dubbed it, responding to him with simply a #MeToo. Rather, the junior senator from New York called it a "sexist smear."

"It was a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice and I will not be silenced on this issue and neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday and neither will the millions of women who've been marching since the Women's March to stand up against policies they do not agree with," Gillibrand said in a press conference. Soon after, Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii called for Trump's resignation.

In a press conference on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used the time-honored strategy of gaslighting to explain Trump's tweet, predictably turning the tables and saying that anyone who read Trump's tweet in which he accused a woman in Congress of "begging" and being willing "to do anything" as some form of harassment was twisted.

"Only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way," she said before spewing lines of nonsensical obfuscation for which she's become famous. "He was obviously talking about political partisan games that people often play and the broken system that he's talked about repeatedly. This isn't new," Sanders said at about the 32-minute mark in the video below.

Last week, Gillibrand led the charge demanding Franken's resignation followed soon after by Kamala Harris, Claire McCaskill, Patty Murray, Tammy Baldwin, Debbie Stabenow, Heidi Heitkamp and Elizabeth Warren before several male senators joined them.

By Monday, Gillibrand and a few other senators turned their attention to demanding Trump resign at the same time three of the more than 15 women who accused him of sexual harassment held a press conference to demand a congressional investigation into his history of sexual misconduct (some of which he admitted to on the famed Access Hollywood "I grab them by the pussy" without consent tape).

"In an objective setting, without question, a person with this record would have entered the graveyard of political aspirations, never to return," Rachel Crooks, who has accused Trump of grabbing and kissing her without her consent in an elevator in 2005 said during the press conference, according to Slate. "Yet here we are with that man as president."

The country was well aware of Trump's predatory past considering that his accusers came out with their allegations prior to the election, more than a year before The New York Times published its expose on Harvey Weinstein that created the current watershed moment of powerful men finally being held accountable for their predations.

Earlier this month, Trump lied to members of his staff, saying that the Access Hollywood tape in which he discussed grabbing women by the genitals and kissing them without consent, which he previously dubbed "locker room talk," was fake. On Tuesday he lied and said he'd never met his accusers, although as one reporter pointed out during the press conference with Sanders, there is photographic evidence of him with a few of the women who've accused him of assault.

Ironically, the case for Trump to be held to the same standard as Franken ramped up this week even as Alabama voters were headed to the polls to either pull the lever for or against Roy Moore, the accused sexual predator of underaged girls that Trump wholeheartedly supports.

Regarding the allegations against Trump that spurred Gillibrand to call for his resignation she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour, "President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign."

The senator, who confirmed that Trump's name-calling and smear campaign against her will not silence her also said of his alleged crimes, "These allegations are credible; they are numerous. I've heard these women's testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking."

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Tracy E. Gilchrist