Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) was planning to announce a possible presidential campaign this weekend, but those plans may have to wait after a report emerged Wednesday night alleging Klobuchar is cruel and potentially abusive to her staff.
The Huffington Post reported Wednesday that "at least three people have withdrawn from consideration to lead Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s nascent 2020 presidential campaign" over Klobuchar's "history of mistreating her staff."
Klobuchar was expected to announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee this weekend at an event in her home state of Minnesota, and she's widely regarded as a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Although she is far from moderate, Klobuchar has made a name for herself among fellow Democrats for being both a vocal and capable spokesperson for left-leaning policies within their ranks.
But several former staffers reportedly told the Huffington Post that Klobuchar is prone to "bursts of cruelty" and to sending strings of abusive and belittling emails to staff in the middle of the night. Others said that Klobuchar "tasked them or their co-workers with performing personal errands, such as making her personal appointments, washing dishes at her home or picking up her dry cleaning" — duties senate staff members are prohibited from doing.
Klobuchar also has one of the highest rates of staff turnover in the senate, Huffington Post claims.
For her part, Klobuchar denies the allegations.
"Senator Klobuchar loves her staff ― they are the reason she has gotten to where she is today," a Klobuchar spokesperson told the Huffington Post. "She has many staff who have been with her for years ― including her Chief of Staff and her State Director, who have worked for her for 5 and 7 years respectively ― and many who have gone on to do amazing things, from working in the Obama Administration (over 20 of them) to running for office to even serving as the Agriculture Commissioner for Minnesota. She is proud of them and the work they have done for Minnesota."
Other former staffers chalked the allegations up to sexism, suggesting that male senators who have "high expectations" for their staff wouldn't face questions about their fitness for higher office.
If there's one thing for certain, however, it's that Klobuchar is making other potential Democratic 2020 candidates very nervous. Normally, leaks about behavior, like the one the Huffington Post published on Wednesday, are part of "opposition research" campaigns — dirt, dug up on a candidate, designed to have an impact on that candidate's public relations — and they often come much later in a campaign.
Instead, information on Klobuchar is leaking early, suggesting that another Democratic candidate is playing rough.