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Twitter battle with the president elevating Sen. Gillibrand’s platform

December 13, 2017 06:47 PM

ROCHESTER — New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and President Donald Trump are in a Twitter battle. She called on him to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct, he called her a “flunky” that would beg him for money and do “anything for it.”  The back-and-forth has settled down but it did seem to elevate the name of New York’s Junior Senator nationwide.

When asked during an exclusive interview on the Today Show Wednesday whether she thought the tweet had sexual implications, Gillibrand said, “Certainly, that's how I and many people read it and it was certainly just a sexist smear intended to silence me." White House spokeswoman Sara Sanders told reporters, “I think only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way.”

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Sanders insists the president was implying that Senator Gillibrand plays partisan games in a broken Washington system. Political analysts can see it both ways. “The fact that she came to him and said she would do anything was read by many of my feminist colleagues and Democrats as a very provocative, disturbing sexual message. The base of Donald Trump though saw that as just another way…well they're all political shills and they'll play both sides of the aisle, they'll collect money from anyone because really it's all about them and their power which is one of the reasons they like Donald Trump because they think he calls people out,” says Dr. Tim Kneeland, chair of the Political Science Department at Nazareth College.

The “call-out” has now elevated Gillibrand’s name nationally and given her a wider platform. “Yes it does give her a lot of national spotlight attention, she is someone that a lot of people in the Democratic Party and in her own inner circle are talking about as a potential 20/20 presidential run,” Kneeland says.

The back-an- forth with the president has also become big business. "No doubt this will increase the amount of fundraising she'll be able to do from this kind of tweet. This kind of negative attention from Donald Trump is only good for Democratic politicians going forward,” Kneeland says.

He also thinks the situation could lure women voters in her direction saying, “College-educated women who used to vote Republican are now either not voting or their voting for democrats and we saw that locally actually.”

We’ll be able to tell whether Gillibrand is considering a run when we look at her movements over the next several months. “If I'm Kirsten Gillibrand, I'm going... 'Okay... so I need to be talking in Iowa, I need to be talking in New Hampshire.' So one of the things you need to find out is what is her travel schedule for the next 18 months,” Kneeland says.

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Jennifer Lewke

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