US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Following the dramatic setback of President Obama’s trade deal Tuesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, called the president’s comments regarding Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s, D-Mass., position on his trade deal “disrespectful.”
“I think the president was disrespectful to her, the way he did that. I think the president has made this more personal than he needed to,” Brown said. “I’m not going to get into more details. I think referring to her as her first name, when he might not have done that for a male senator, perhaps? I’ve said enough.”
“Sen. Brown believes that this debate shouldn’t be personal, but about getting the best possible deal for American workers and American manufacturers,” a spokesperson for Brown told ABC News.
In an interview earlier this week, Warren, possibly one of the most prominent critics of Obama’s trade deal, said she doesn’t know how the president has wound up so far from her on the trade issue.
“She’s absolutely wrong,” Obama said in an interview will Yahoo!’s Matt Bai, regarding her view on the trade bill.
“This is pure speculation. She and I both taught law school, and you know, one of the things you do as a law professor is you spin out hypotheticals. And this is all hypothetical, speculative,” Obama said.
“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” he added. “And you know, she’s got a voice that she wants to get out there. And I understand that. And on most issues, she and I deeply agree. On this one, though, her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.”
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest doubled down on his call for Brown to apologize to Obama for accusing the president of being “disrespectful” to Warren.
“Sen. Brown is a standup guy, and given the opportunity to review the comments that seemed like they were made in some haste, that I feel confident that he’ll do the right thing and apologize,” Earnest told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing. “I wouldn’t necessarily expect a public apology, but we’ll see how Senator Brown chooses to pursue this.”
Asked about the public tiff, Earnest sought to clarify that the president’s remarks were meant to relay that Warren is making a political argument.
“The president’s making a political argument, too,” he said. “And we can have a robust difference of opinion and a robust debate.”
Earnest also rejected the notion that the president was somehow being sexist by referring to Warren by her first name.
“There are a number of instances where the president has used the first name of the senator to reference them in public, both men and women, including multiple instances in which he’s referred to Sherrod Brown as Sherrod in public setting,” he said.
Earnest first called on Brown to apologize for his comment in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier Wednesday. But in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Wednesday afternoon, the Ohio Democrat stopped short of offering an apology.
“Yeah, I don’t want this to be personal either way,” Brown told Mitchell, while not responding directly to a question about whether he would apologize.
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