Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on 'The View': Biden will have to answer 'directly to voters' on inappropriate touching claims

She declared her presidential candidacy last month.

April 24, 2019, 12:50 PM

2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said potential political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden "is going to have to directly answer to voters" on allegations of inappropriate touching.

"I have gone through fire to do what's right, including standing up for women," she added.

ABC News has confirmed that Biden will announce he's entering the 2020 race Thursday morning in a video. The veteran politician will likely face tough questions on claims from some women who say that he made them feel uncomfortable in past interactions by touching them without their permission. Biden posted a video acknowledging that "social norms are changing" and promising he would be "much more mindful," calling it his "responsibility."

In her appearance on The View, Gillibrand addressed a memo obtained by the New York Times in which her campaign suggested calls for then-Senator Al Franken to resign after allegations of forceful kissing and inappropriate touching have hurt her fundraising efforts.

“If they’re going to [be] angry about me standing up for women who were groped that’s on them,” Gillibrand said on Wednesday.

Gillibrand, who has made fighting sexual assault a focus of her political career has previously pushed back against claims made by a former female staffer in her office who said she resigned last summer in protest over the office's handling of a sexual harassment complaint against a top aide. The male staffer was later fired.

During her appearance on The View, Gillibrand also called special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian meddling in the 2016 election "very damning" and added that she felt there was significant evidence within the report to show that President Donald Trump potentially obstructed justice.

"The Mueller report was very damning," Gillibrand told the hosts of "The View" adding that "If President Trump takes on Nancy Pelosi over whether he's going to respond to her subpoenas, I will put my money on Nancy Pelosi every time."

Gillibrand made her first appearance on The View since declaring her candidacy for the 2020 presidential race last month.

Gillibrand’s visit to the daytime talk show comes on the heels of her announcement on Tuesday that she will not use stolen or hacked materials for political gain. It was a message aimed at Russian interference in the 2016 election and the allegations of how that information was used.

“Russia will be back, and it is troubling that President Trump and his top aides are not only failing to hold them accountable but actually normalizing the idea of ‘taking information from Russians’ for political gain,” Gillibrand said in a statement.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a rally in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower, March 24, 2019, in New York.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a rally in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower, March 24, 2019, in New York.
Kena Betancur/Getty Images, FILE

In a crowded Democratic field, Gillibrand is hoping her experience representing constituents from both rural and urban areas will set her apart. Last week, she toured rural Iowa while also releasing a list of steps to help close the racial wealth gap.

Gillibrand, who is near the bottom of the crowded Democratic field in the latest Monmouth University national poll, says she's not disheartened by the low poll numbers. "I've always been discounted and an underdog," Gillibrand told The View. She added, "I'm not concerned about a poll today."

The senator was elected to Congress in 2006. In 2009, when then-Sen. Hillary Clinton was tapped to be President Barack Obama's Secretary of State, Gillibrand was appointed to finish Clinton's Senate term.

Her past moderate political positions have stoked speculation that she could be a strong general election candidate, but some of her old stances, like support for gun control that once earned her an "A" rating from the NRA, could hinder her during the Democratic primaries. She has argued that her thinking on some topics has evolved since joining the Senate.

She has voted against Trump's position "more often than any other senator" as of December 2017, according to FiveThirtyEight, a point she mentions often on the trail.

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