Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is facing additional allegations of abusing her staff after a report Friday said the presidential candidate berated an aide for forgetting to bring utensils — forcing the lawmaker to eat a salad with a comb.
The episode happened in 2008 while the lawmaker was traveling with aides to South Carolina and a staffer bought a salad for Klobuchar while carrying bags through the airport, The New York Times reported.
However, the aide forgot utensils and the flight had none on board, prompting Klobuchar to berate the aide and pull a comb from her bag to eat the salad, the paper reported citing four people familiar with the episode. Klobuchar then directed the aide to clean the comb after she had finished.
NBC News has not confirmed the report.
“I think I’ve been clear on that I love my staff and you can see what a great job they did putting this together and we’re in this to win the presidency,” Klobuchar told reporters as she left a monthly breakfast hosted by the Greenville Democratic Party on Saturday. During her speech to roughly 300 Democrats, she made it a point to briefly thank her staff.
Klobuchar has faced recent criticism for reports of mistreating her staff. Citing anonymous sources, HuffPost reported earlier this month that the alleged mistreatment scared off candidates to manage her presidential bid. BuzzFeed News also reported that Klobuchar "ran a workplace controlled by fear, anger, and shame ... one that many employees found intolerably cruel."
"The senator has repeatedly acknowledged that she can be tough and push people hard. But these anonymous stories — some of which are just plain ridiculous — do not overshadow the countless experiences of people on the senator’s team who she has been so proud to work with," Carlie Waibel, a campaign spokesperson, told the Times, which also reported the senator had told an "abridged" version of the comb story to Democrats at one point.
Klobuchar addressed the allegations when she announced her presidential candidacy earlier this month in Minnesota.
"I love our staff — look at this incredible event they put together," Klobuchar told reporters. "And, yes, I can be tough, and, yes, I can push people, I know that. But in the end, there are so many great stories of our staff that have been with me for years and have gone on to do incredible things. And I have, I'd say, high expectations for myself. I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country. And that's what we need. We need someone who is focused on getting things done for the country."