White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said one’s mind would have to be “in the gutter” to interpret President Donald Trump’s tweet about Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) Tuesday as a form of sexual innuendo.
Sanders took multiple questions at the briefing about Trump’s latest Twitter broadside, this one aimed at Gillibrand after she called for him to resign the presidency a day earlier.
Trump tweeted Gillibrand was a “lightweight” who would “come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them).” Trump’s remark about doing “anything” was widely interpreted as implying Gillibrand would even trade sexual favors for campaign money.
Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office “begging” for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2017
Sanders said at the outset of the briefing that Trump’s tweet was about the corruption of the political system and the ability to win favors as a wealthy campaign contributor. Trump, a former Democrat, had given money to Gillibrand.
Reporter April Ryan asked if Gillibrand was owed an apology for any “misunderstanding” of the tweet, since many looked at it as sexual in nature.
“I think only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way, so no,” Sanders said.
“No, it’s not,” Ryan said. “What he said was open and it was not—”
“He was obviously talking about political, partisan games, that people often play, and the broken system that he’s talked about repeatedly,” Sanders said. “This isn’t new. This isn’t a new sentiment. This isn’t new terminology. He’s used it several times before.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) tweeted Trump was trying to “slut-shame” Gillibrand, and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” panel exploded over the tweet as “disgusting.” Host Mika Brzezinski specifically called on Sanders to denounce Trump from the podium for Trump’s tweet.