Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is running for president. She’s used to be a more conservative Democrat, but that’s when she was a congresswoman from upstate New York. She held views on immigration that are quite in line with Donald Trump. Her excuse, more or less, is that she had to be because she represented a congressional redneck district. When she was appointed to fill the remaining term of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was tapped to be secretary of state by Obama, she became a full-blown liberal.
She’s trying to capture the progressive vote. She’s also a Me Too crusader, being one of the first senators to call on Al Franken to resign over his allegation of sexual misconduct. It’s a move that was not popular at all with her side. She also said that Bill Clinton should’ve resigned as well. Well, Gillibrand’s role as the Me Too avenger could be in jeopardy. She reportedly botched a sexual harassment claim within her office, the female aide who filed the complaint resigned in protest, and the male staffer was fired, but only after Politico reached out for comment. Oh yes, profiles in courage indeed:
In July, the female staffer alleged one of Gillibrand’s closest aides — who was a decade her senior and married — repeatedly made unwelcome advances after the senator had told him he would be promoted to a supervisory role over her. She also said the male aide regularly made crude, misogynistic remarks in the office about his female colleagues and potential female hires.
Less than three weeks after reporting the alleged harassment and subsequently claiming that the man retaliated against her for doing so, the woman told chief of staff Jess Fassler that she was resigning because of the office’s handling of the matter. She did not have another job lined up.
The woman was granted anonymity because she fears retaliation and damage to her future professional prospects.
The senator and her staff never responded to the letter.
Since she left last summer, the woman has been doing part-time contract work. The male aide, Abbas Malik, kept his job.
Two weeks ago, however, POLITICO presented the office with its own findings of additional allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct by Malik. Among the claims were that he made a “joke” about rape to a female colleague — a person whom the office had failed to contact last summer despite repeated urgings by Malik’s accuser to reach out to the person.
Gillibrand’s office opened a new investigation and dismissed Malik last week. Malik did not respond to requests for comment.
She’s not the only one facing such allegations if mishandling such claims. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a darling of the Democratic Left who’s also running for president, had a 2016 campaign that was reportedly a den of sexism and sexual harassment. He did nothing to fully address the claims, saying he was too busy campaigning in 2016. Democrats are sure aggressive on these Me Too stories…until they come back and bite them. Typical.
Oh, and while this could derail Gillibrand's 2020 plans, things aren't going so hot right now, even with her allegedly failing to deal with this harassment claim:
Kirsten Gillibrand is at zero percent. pic.twitter.com/iUkDFLjjKS— Andrew Kugle (@AndrewJKugle) March 11, 2019
I want to frame this pic.twitter.com/yWFymRYE4h— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) March 11, 2019
And this woman wasn't the only one. Politico said they reached out to 20 other staffers about Malik's behavior and he sounds like a terrible, terrible person:
POLITICO reached out to more than 20 former Gillibrand staffers to see if there was a pattern of behavior by Malik, including the two aides the woman specifically asked the office to contact.
One of those two former staffers said Malik often called her fat and unattractive to her face and made light of sexual abuse. She recalled one instance in which Malik remarked that a particular woman they were talking about “couldn’t get laid unless she was raped.” The person did not report that behavior at the time but now says she wishes she had.
Two more staffers who worked for Gillibrand said the woman’s claims of Malik’s inappropriate workplace behavior matched their own experiences. They said Malik regularly made misogynistic jokes, frequently appraised what they wore, disparaged the looks of other female staffers and rated the attractiveness of women who came in for interviews.
The office also dispensed with the allegations of Malik‘s retaliation without informing the woman of its conclusions or any disciplinary action.
Gillibrand’s office acknowledged it found evidence that Malik had made unspecified inappropriate comments and revoked his expected promotion, which would have come with a raise. It also moved his desk and gave him a final warning. This was not the first time the senator’s top aides dealt with an allegation of bad behavior by Malik: According to a firsthand witness of an incident in 2015, Malik confronted a fellow aide in the office. He got in the man’s face, pushed his desk and threatened to “fucking” hurt him, the witness said, describing the confrontation as “violent.”
So, given that this apparent office cancer stuck around, no wonder why this woman said, “When I had the courage to speak up about my harasser, I was belittled by her office and treated like an inconvenience… She kept a harasser on her staff until it proved politically untenable for her to do so.” Yeah, that sounds like a Democrat.