The people who anonymously accused now-dead Sen. Daniel Inouye of sexually harassing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand should come forward and make their claims in public, says Inouye’s last chief of staff.
“I don’t think it is fair because Senator Inouye is no longer here,” said Marie Blanco, Inouye’s final chief of staff. “There’s nothing to back [the claim] up,” said Blanco, who worked for Inouye for 34 years.
“Come forward,” she said.
The scandal began this month when Gillibrand claimed in her memoirs that she was harassed by senators. But she refused to name the senators, even though she’s trying to champion the issue of sexual harassment
One older senator squeezed her waist and said “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!,” Gillibrand claimed in her new memoir, “Off the Sidelines.” Also, one senator called her “porky,” she wrote.
When questioned by reporters, the New York senator declined to name the supposed harassers.
That silence angered feminist groups who wanted to protest the rude senators, and it also portrayed all her male Senate colleagues as boors.
Gillibrand’s political problem was solved Sept. 22 by a New York Times article.
“It turns out the senator was the late Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii, the decorated veteran and civil rights hero, according to people with knowledge< of the incident,” read the Sept. 22 Times article by Carl Hulse.
The activist pressure to name the rude Senators stopped once the anonymous staffers tagged Inouye.
But by naming Inouye, who died in December 2012, the unnamed sources effectively tarred a man who can’t defend himself.
Now, by not speaking out on Hulse’s claim, Gillibrand allows that rumor to stand.
Gillibrand’s press office did not respond to questions from The Daily Caller.
Sen. Inouye lost his right arm in combat near the end of World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions, in which he likely killed several young Germans.
It’s all very convenient for Gillibrand to blame a dead man, said Blanco, Inouye’s staff director.
“At this point, he’s not alive… he can’t speak for himself,” she said.
“Personally, I don’t think it is fair… like I said, he can’t defend himself,” she added.
A new poll of New York voters show that 48 percent of respondents rated Gillibrand’s job performance as good or excellent.
The Daily Caller also left messages with Inouye’s son, Ken Inouye, who declined to defend his father. The younger Inouye is a lobbyist who has worked in jobs that require he maintain good relations with Democratic senators.
TheDC also called another former chief of staff for Inouye, Patrick DeLeon, who left Inouye’s office in 2011. “He declined comment about the fairness of the anonymous accusation, saying “ask the one who said it directly.”
“I’ve really nothing to add,” he said, adding “that’s not the person…” before quitting the phone call.
Hulse declined to respond when TheDC asked if he had called Inouye’s staffers for their perspective. Hulse also did not provide any information about the identity of the additional Senator who supposedly insulted Gillibrand by calling her “porky.”
Hulse’s column backed up the anonymous claims with other anonymous claims about other possible episodes. “One Hawaii state senator announced that she had heard from nine other women who said they had been sexually harassed by Mr. Inouye… the women did not want to go forward with their claims,” Hulse reported.
Hulse did cite one public accusation from 1992, when “his hairdresser said that Mr. Inouye had forced her to have sex with him.”
On previous occasions, Democrats and the established media have scorched Republicans for publishing charges made by unidentified people.
In 1991, for example, liberals slammed GOP Sen. Alan Simpson for citing anonymous claims about a witness in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
“I really am getting stuff over the transom about Professor [Anita] Hill. I’ve got letters hanging out of my pocket. I’ve got faxes. I’ve got statements from her former law professors, statements from people that know her, statements from Tulsa, Okla., saying, ‘Watch out for this woman.’ But nobody’s got the guts to say that because it gets all tangled up in this sexual harassment” charges against Thomas, he said.
Many established media outlets — including The New York Times — pounded Simpson.
“When Mr. Simpson refused in his television interview this morning to describe the information he had received more fully, Andrea Mitchell, an NBC News correspondent, said,
“You’ve raised this now at the hearings, and you’ve raised it just now on national television. Isn’t this McCarthyism of the worst order?” said the New York Times.
Among liberals, the charge of “McCarthyism” is akin to Victorian accusations of sexual scandal, and are intended to exclude people from high-status society.
The charge stems from Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s undocumented claims in 1950 that he had the name of many American allies of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His reckless charges were used by Democrats to undermine the FBI’s generally successful effort to identify Soviet agents scattered throughout the U.S. government.