Politics

‘Not fit to clean the toilets’ — USA Today editorial torches Trump over Gillibrand tweet

President Donald Trump.
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press/file
President Donald Trump.

The usually staid editorial board of USA Today torched President Trump on Tuesday after his tweet claiming that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand “would do anything” in exchange for campaign contributions.

The newspaper’s editorial came out swinging: “With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.”

Later, the editorial continued, “A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.”

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The editorial was responding to the president’s tweet, which came after Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, called for an investigation of accusations of sexual harassment and assault that were made against Trump during last year’s campaign.

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“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump,” the president wrote on Tuesday morning.

Gillibrand called the tweet a “sexist smear,” and it was widely slammed as another tawdry attack by the president, who has been criticized before for targeting prominent women including TV news journalists Megyn Kelly and Mika Brzezinski.

“Are you really trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @SenGillibrand?Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted. “Do you know who you’re picking a fight with? Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump.”

The White House denied that Trump’s attack had any sexist or sexual implications, but the USA Today editorial board didn’t buy that.

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“White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president’s smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men,” the editorial said. “Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her ‘wherever,’ he didn’t mean her nose,” a reference to Trump’s attacks on Kelly.

It was an unusually passionate editorial for the newspaper. As CNN editor at large Chris Cillizza put it: “USA Today isn’t known for its blistering opinion pieces. Which makes the one the paper’s editorial board just published on President Donald Trump all the more savage.”

The editorial went on air a host of grievances about Trump, and it didn’t hold out much hope for a return to civility anytime soon:

“This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.

“Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.”