Earlier this month, President Trump fired off a tweet insinuating that New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has in the past offered him sexual favors in exchange for campaign contributions. Trump’s attack came after Gillibrand called on him to resign as a consequence for the sexual assault and harassment allegations that have been lodged against him by over 20 women.
Trump responded the following morning on Twitter, writing, “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!”
Trump’s use of the word “begging” and the claim that Gillibrand “would do anything” for political contributions raised red flags for pretty much anyone who’d ever heard sexual insinuations be made about a woman before.
The senator shot back that she refused to be silenced.
You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office. https://t.co/UbQZqubXZv
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) December 12, 2017
In a new POLITICO report detailing the experiences of a handful of Trump’s Twitter victims, Gillibrand reveals that when she told her 9-year-old son she’d had a rough day after a “fight with the president,” he proceeded to press her for more details.
“He really wanted to know,” she said, “and I was not going to tell him, because I don’t want those words in his brain, I don’t want to explain what it meant, I didn’t want him to have the knowledge that the president of the United States said something so outrageously disgusting about his mother.”
Later, when she was taking her older 12-year-old son to visit a high school, she had to turn off the car radio after hearing broadcasters covering the story of Trump’s remarks about her. She again kept the details to a minimum and repeated the line of simply having had a fight with the president.
Later that night, though, her husband let the two boys know that what their mother had done was in the benefit of all women. “‘Boys, you need to be really nice to Mommy, she had a really tough day, but she did something so brave, and she protected millions of women and it’s important that she does that for her job,'” Gillibrand said, quoting her husband.
Though she was specifically targeted by Trump, Gillibrand told POLITICO that she doesn’t “accept” Trump’s comment as a personal attack. “I see it in that lens, I don’t accept his tweet as a personal insult,” she said. “I’m fighting for something that’s important, I’m not going to be silenced on it.”