“Yes, I can be tough, and yes I can push people,” Klobuchar told reporters after a rally at Minneapolis’ Boom Island Park, according to HuffPost. “I have high expectations for myself, I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country.”
“In the end, there are so many great stories of our staff that have been with me for years,” she added.
The comments came after multiple reports surfaced last week including details of how Klobuchar allegedly treated her congressional staff. HuffPost reported that three potential candidates to lead her nascent presidential campaign declined the job due to concerns about the issue.
A BuzzFeed News report also included a number of accusations from former staffers about her workplace demeanor. The ex-staffers told the news outlet that the senator often berated employees over small mistakes and created a hostile work environment.
“I cried. I cried, like, all the time,” one former staffer told BuzzFeed.
Other staffers have defended Klobuchar. Kali Cruz, who worked in Klobuchar’s office during her first Senate term, said that Klobuchar “cared deeply for me as her staffer.”
An unnamed campaign spokesperson also told BuzzFeed News that Klobuchar “loves her staff — they are the reason she has gotten to where she is today.”
Klobuchar became the latest Democratic senator to launch a 2020 campaign for president on a snow-covered stage in Minnesota on Sunday. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) have all announced White House bids as well.
The three-term senator vowed to “take on the gun lobby,” root out corporate money in politics and lower health care costs in a speech. She also said that she would likely begin her campaign in Wisconsin, noting that “there wasn’t a lot of campaigning in Wisconsin in 2016.”