On Monday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who desperately wants to run for president in 2020 as a sort of Hillary Clinton mini-me, appeared on The View. There, she shouted loudly about #MeToo and sexual abuse — until Meghan McCain asked her two simple questions that left her stammering and red-faced.
Here was the exchange:
BEHAR: Here’s the other big topic that we didn’t get to this morning, and that is that there are new sexual assault allegations against Steve Wynn, who is the financial chair of the Republican Party, yes? So he’s a big shot. He gives a lot of money to the Republican Party, millions, I’m assuming, and he denies them, of course, he says he didn’t do it. And since the Democrats had to give money back to Weinstein or they gave it to charity, do you think the Republicans should give that money back?
GILLIBRAND: They should.
BEHAR: And will they?
GILLIBRAND: I don’t know. There are multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him, and the near silence is deafening coming from the Republicans. I really believe this should not be about any one party, this should not be partisan, this kind of behavior is not okay, it is not acceptable, we need accountability, and I think Republicans should show far more leadership than they are today, and they need to speak out and send the money back, and hold their own accountable.
BEHAR: Well, he’s resigning, isn’t he?
GILLIBRAND: Yes, but again, the outcry, in the other allegations of Weinstein, etc., never ended. Coming from a political place. And I don’t think these issues should be political, and so the silence is deafening.
Behar then asked Gillibrand about forcing Senator Al Franken (D-MN) to resign from the Senate, while President Trump wasn’t resigning. Behar then quoted Jerry Falwell Jr. saying Trump denied it.
GILLIBRAND: Let’s talk about Trump first. He has multiple allegations, over a dozen allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, he should resign because of that. He should be held accountable. I’ve not heard that from any Republicans. And they won’t hold him accountable. … And because he’s unwilling ot resign, Congress should be doing hearings. Where are the hearings on all of these allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment?... President Trump has tried to demean them, dismiss them.
Finally, after Behar finished throwing Gillibrand softballs, and Gillibrand had spent some five minutes ranting about the evils of sexual abuse, Meghan McCain stepped in to ask some serious questions.
MCCAIN: I just want to move on, because there are some inconvenient truths on both sides. Reportedly Hillary Clinton is under fire for covering up for a top advisor who was accused of sexual harassment back in 2007. She docked his pay and made him seek counseling, but allowed him to stay on. And women claim his harassment continued. You were a longtime supporter of the Clintons and consider her a mentor. Do you think her response this weekend was appropriate?
Gillibrand was nearly rendered speechless. Then she stammered:
GILLIBRAND: Well, as you know, I think these things have to be dealt with whether you’re a Democrat, whether you’re a Republican, you need transparency, accountability, and no one is above criticism. But in that case, I don’t know all the details, I don’t know if the punishment she chose was the right punishment, but what it does bring us to talk about is this issue of workplace harassment, the fact that too many women in the workplace across all sectors, across all industries are being harassed today. …
Gillibrand then babbled about the glories of #MeToo. So McCain pressed:
MCCAIN: Senator, you have dedicated your political career to this fight, obviously, and that’s why people were really surprised that it took you 20 years to say Bill Clinton should have resigned over the Lewinsky scandal. So what do you say to that?
GILLIBRAND: I think this moment of time we’re in is very different. I don’t think we had the same conversation back then, the same lens, we didn’t hold people accountable in the same way this moment is demanding today. All of us, or many of us, did not have that same lens, myself included. But today, we are having a very different conversation. And there is a moment of time where we can actually do the right thing or fixate on one president.
MCCAIN: Can I ask you if you regret campaigning with him?
GILLIBRAND: It’s not about any one president, and it’s not about any one industry, and if we reduce it to that, we are missing the opportunity to allow women to be heard, to allow women to have accountability and transparency, and to allow women to have justice.
This, to put it mildly, is a garbage answer. But the women of The View moved on. Here’s the fact: this is about one president, and his name is Trump. Gillibrand was fine with the Clintons. She’s still defending Hillary. And Democrats will keep defending Democrats, so long as those Democrats are powerful enough. Good for McCain for exposing that rather inconvenient fact.