Amy Klobuchar: Tyrant of the Senate
How you treat people who “don’t matter” says more about your character than perhaps any other thing in your life. It’s all well and good when you’re polite and well-mannered around bosses or people who can further your career. It’s one thing to be loving and kind around your kids or your broader family. But it is how you treat waiters, clerks at the local Target, and, yes, employees, that really speaks to who you are as a person. And if the testimony of many (many) of Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s staffers tell the story of the Minnesota Democrat’s character, then this is a woman who has no business in the Oval Office. She appears, indeed, to be a tyrant in the making.
The New York Times has indulged in a lot of foolishness since Donald Trump arrived on the political scene, but the paper did a pretty good job of rounding up these awful, character-enlightening stories for a feature this weekend. What we read makes us doubt that Klobuchar is fit to sit in the Senate, much less run for president.
On a trip to South Carolina in 2008, Klobuchar blew up at an aide for losing the plastic utensils that were to go with her mid-flight salad. The senator made the odd decision to eat the salad with a comb from her purse before handing it off to the aide “with a directive: Clean it.”
She was known to throw office objects in frustration, including binders and phones, in the direction of aides, they said. Low-level employees were asked to perform duties they described as demeaning, like washing her dishes or other cleaning — a possible violation of Senate ethics rules, according to veterans of the chamber.
Appraisals of perceived staff incompetence were delivered at all hours of the day and night:
“In 20 years in politics I have never seen worse prep,” Ms. Klobuchar said in one email, displeased at how a political event had been handled.
“This is the hands down worse thing you have ever given me,” she wrote in another, questioning her team’s grasp of policy as she rejected its “slop.”
“This is the worst press staff I ever had,” she announced once to employees, according to an aide present. This was effectively a rite of passage, the aide said: The senator had plainly said the same about both predecessors and successors in the office.
And that seems to be just the tip of the iceberg.
The usual Sexism Police are out in force, claiming that any criticism of Klobuchar’s tyrannical behavior would never be thrown at a male politician. This is absurd on its face; if a guy was treating aides this way – particularly female aides – they would be #MeToo’d out of town on a rail.
Klobuchar is one of the more “sane” Democrats, policy-wise, to join the 2020 train so far, but her demeanor behind the scenes does not suggest someone ready for the most important job in the nation.