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White House Denies Trump’s Gillibrand Tweet Was Sexist: ‘Only If Your Mind Is in the Gutter’

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The White House strongly denied that President Trump was making a sexist comment when he tweeted that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand “would do anything” for campaign donations.

Speaking at the daily press briefing Tuesday, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump’s remark about the New York Democrat was about a corrupt political system and noted he’s made similar remarks about male politicians.

“There’s no way that this is sexist at all, this is simply talking about a system that we have that is broken,” she said. “This is the same sentiment that the president has expressed many times before when he has exposed the corruption of the entire political system. … Politicians repeatedly beg for money, that’s not something new.”

Trump’s remark was harshly criticized by Democrats, including Gillibrand, whose response garnered more engagement on Twitter than Trump’s original tweet. Many argued that it was sexist, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren even calling it “slut-shaming,” an argument Sanders pushed back on.

In March 2016, Trump said former Massachusetts governor was “begging” for his endorsement. “I could have said, ‘Mitt, drop to your knees,'” Trump said at the time. “He would have dropped to his knees.”

Sanders chastised anyone who read Trump’s comment about Gillibrand as sexual innuendo. “I think only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way,” she said, arguing that the president does not owe Gillibrand an apology.

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Write to Tessa Berenson Rogers at tessa.Rogers@time.com