Aides at the White House are scrambling to defend President Obama, after critics yesterday suggested that he was exhibiting “sexist” behavior during the ongoing trade battle with liberal champion Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) suggested during a news conference yesterday that Obama was behaving in a sexist manner toward Warren, by criticizing her by using her first name. The president of the National Organization of Women also criticized Obama for sexist behavior because he called Warren by her first name.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning to defend the president, arguing that Obama had a personal relationship with Warren, and had a habit of referring to Senate members by their first names – particularly with those he’d worked with in the Senate.
“He has a personal relationship with Senator Warren, it’s not surprising he calls her by her first name,” Earnest protested, after Brown’s comment was detailed.
Earnest said that Brown’s comment was “out of character,” particularly since he worked together with the president to confirm the first female chair of the Federal Reserve.
“Sen. Brown is a stand-up guy, and I’m confident that after he’s got a chance to look at the comments that he made yesterday that he’ll find a way to apologize,” Earnest said.
When host Joe Scarborough expressed surprise that Obama was being called sexist, simply because he called her by her first name, Earnest agreed.
“It seems hard to believe, doesn’t it,” he replied.