Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was one of the first Democrats to publicly call for Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) resignation after he was accused of sexual misconduct by at least eight different women.
But now the New York senator, who was once considered presidential material, is being blackballed by the Democratic Party’s wealthy donors who thought of Franken as one of their “best weapons” against President Donald Trump.
A shocking report published Monday by Politico revealed that more than a dozen high-profile donors vowed to never again support Gillibrand, unless she becomes the party’s nominee in 2020.
“He was one of our best weapons against this administration, his presence on these committees,” one donor told Politico. “There were other people at this event who were saying the same thing. They said, ‘Absolutely, I will never do anything for her.’”
The Democratic Party’s wealth donor class, many of whom are women, considered Gillibrand’s actions to be “opportunistic” and even “shrewd.”
“I do hear people refer to Kirsten Gillibrand as ‘opportunistic’ and shrewd at the expense of others to advance herself, and it seems to have been demonstrated in her rapid treatment of her colleague Al Franken,” said donor Susie Tompkins Bell. “I know [Gillibrand] thought she was doing the right thing, but I think she will be remembered by this rush to judgment. I have heard some of her women colleagues regret joining her.”
“While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve,” Gillibrand wrote, and was later joined by several female colleagues, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
But leading the charge against Franken is now coming back to bite Gillibrand, whose 2020 chances are likely shot.
“I could stay on the phone all afternoon talking about this,” one donor with the “Majority Trust” arm of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee told Politico. “Let me tell you how strongly I felt about it—I didn’t even vote for her in the recent election. I left it blank.”
Others went so far as to claim that Gillibrand’s actions had a “dreadful” impact on women in politics, while another said a lot donors feel “anger at Kirsten for what she did.”
“I thought she was duplicitous,” one Manhattan-based donor said. “Once the whole thing happened with Al Franken, it was confirmed 1 billion percent that she’s not to be trusted. I think that she hurt the Democratic Party. I think that she hurt the Senate. I think that what she did for women in politics was dreadful.”
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