Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has made waves with her new book by detailing all the sexist and sleazy comments she's heard from older male lawmakers in the halls of the Capitol.
But she has steadfastly refused to call out those senators and congressmen by name, most recently on Tuesday morning in an appearance on "Morning Joe."
Co-host Mika Brzezinski repeatedly pressed Gillibrand to "name names," pointing out that she did in her own tales of sexual harassment and arguing that she would be more effective in elevating the issues women faced in the workplace if she did.
The reason I use these examples is to illustrate the broader point. I want to elevate the debate.
It’s not about a specific insult of one person. It’s about what’s been said to you, what’s been said to you."
The comments Gillibrand revealed included one lawmaker playfully warning her not to get "porky" and another southern congressman telling her she was "even pretty when you're fat."
Still, she said she didn't consider the remarks "harassment" even if they were insulting and clearly inappropriate. "They're not my bosses. They didn't affect me," she said on "Morning Joe."
Naming the offending lawmakers, she argued, would make it "all about that individual."
Clearly, disclosing the members' names would create a media firestorm, but what Gillibrand doesn't point out is the reality that she is an ambitious young senator in a job that remains dominated by old men and where success depends on personal relationships.
Here's the video of the "Morning Joe" exchange, via Talking Points Memo:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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