It’s been just three days since Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) teased her upcoming “big announcement” and the national media have already released two damning reports about the Minnesota senator’s behavior toward her staffers.
Earlier this week, Huffington Post reported that at least three people declined jobs on Klobuchar’s prospective presidential campaign because of her poor reputation with her staff.
Now, Buzzfeed News has reviewed dozens of emails and spoken with anonymous ex-staffers to find that Klobuchar “ran a workplace controlled by fear, anger, and shame.” According to that report, Klobuchar “yelled, threw papers, and sometimes even hurled objects,” often leaving employees in tears.
Klobuchar would allegedly berate employees in emails sent in the middle of the night over “minor mistakes, misunderstandings, and misplaced commas.”
“Anything could set her temper off, they said, and it was often unpredictable. Among the things that staffers said had prompted outbursts from Klobuchar: minor grammar mistakes, the use of the word ‘community’ in press releases, forgetting to pack the proper coat in her suitcase, failing to charge her iPad, and using staples,” Buzzfeed News reports.
One former staffer said that when she hears “the descriptors of our current president and how he lacks responsibility and everyone is to blame, and there’s erratic behavior, name-calling,” she believes this is “also describing [Klobuchar].”
Klobuchar’s office has responded to both reports with the same statement.
“Senator Klobuchar loves her staff—they are the reason she has gotten to where she is today. 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 five and seven years respectively, as well as her political advisor Justin Buoen, who has worked for her for 14 years—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,” Klobuchar’s team said.
Klobuchar currently has the third highest turnover rate among staff in the Senate, and held the top stop on that list from 2001 to 2016.
“As many of the candidates are already discovering, the gauntlet that is ‘running for President’ is not for the faint of heart or those with skeletons that remain in closets…for now,” Political Editor Steve Gill pointed out. “Stress and fatigue are at a different level for staffers and candidates alike, and temperament will be tested and exposed over the course of the chaotic process. Someone like Klobuchar who already has questions being raised about her treatment of staffers is likely to have some explosive moments on the campaign trail that the media, and her opponents, will be quick to pounce upon and exploit.”
Gill said that if the recent stories about Klobuchar “are even mostly true,” then her attempt to “tamp down her worst impulses is likely to boil over sooner rather than later.”
“Her opponents and their allies in the media will be looking for opportunities to test her and poke at her in order to ‘prove’ the rumors true by getting a reaction,” Gill added. “They are already framing that story. In the frenzied world of running for president while at the same time serving in the Senate, there is not a lot of opportunity for rest and relief of stress, but her team will need to find ways to build those things into her schedule or an unforced error could take her out of contention.”
He suggested that Klobuchar remain patient and “let the field winnow down a bit as some of the flashier opponents fly too close to the sun.”
“Then, having been patient, she can step up her game and create some momentum when it matters and after she is more accustomed to the Presidential pace,” Gill said. “I don’t expect her to do this, because most candidates have an aggressive personality and are urged on by their staff to play hard and fast from the outset.”
The Minnesota GOP is choosing to target Klobuchar for her 2018 campaign promise to complete the full Senate term if reelected.
“Despite having few, if any, achievements to brag about, Senator Klobuchar is ready to jump ship and abandon her six year Senate term just two months after it began to run for president,” the GOP said in a statement Friday. “Maybe someone should tell Klobuchar it’s best to succeed at your current job before seeking the one above it.”
Klobuchar’s “big announcement” is set for Sunday afternoon at Boom Island in Minneapolis.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Amy Klobachur” by Amy Klobachur. Background Photo “White House” by Cezary p. CC BY 1.0.