Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand refused Tuesday to name the male colleagues in Congress that she claims called her “chubby,” “fat” or “porky.”
Mrs. Gillibrand was pressed to “name names” by MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski. But the New York Democrat demurred.
“Those instances were irrelevant to me,” said Mrs. Gillibrand.
In promoting her book “Off The Sidelines,” which hit bookshelves Tuesday, Mrs. Gillibrand told People magazine about several incidents in which older, male colleagues commented on her weight. In the congressional gym, she said a male lawmaker told her, “Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!”
On another occasion, after she lost about 50 pounds, Mrs. Gillibrand said a male senator squeezed her stomach and remarked: “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.”
Ms. Brzezinski questioned why Mrs. Gillibrand would conceal the identity of the offenders and not characterize the experience as sexual harassment.
“Not for me,” Mrs. Gillibrand responded. “They’re not my bosses. They didn’t affect me. What this is about is how do we elevate the debate to talk about these broader challenges.”
Ms. Brzezinski pressed the senator to “elevate the debate” by naming names.
“No, because then it’s all about that individual,” Mrs. Gillibrand replied.