White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Wednesday morning defended President Obama’s comments about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) during the Democrats’ feud over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, arguing that Obama’s remarks about Warren were not sexist.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on Tuesday said that Obama’s comments about Warren’s criticisms of the trade deal were “disrespectful” and said that the President would not have referred to Warren by her first name if she were “a male senator.”
Earnest said that Obama calls numerous senators by their first name.
“I can give you all the references of the President referring to his former colleagues in the Senate by their first name and the fact that Sen. Warren actually used to work for the President in the administration,” Earnest said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “So, the President has a personal relationship with Sen. Warren. It’s not surprising that he would call her by her first name the same way that he calls other senators by their first name.”
When “Morning Joe” co-host Joe Scarborough pressed Earnest on Brown’s comments, Earnest said he tries “to be slow to criticize people who say things in public that are so inconsistent with their reputation and with their character.”
“And Sen. Brown is somebody that has a good relationship with the President,” Earnest continued. “Sen. Brown is a stand-up guy, and I’m confident that after he’s had a chance to take a look at the comments that he made yesterday, that he’ll find a way to apologize.”
In an interview published on Saturday, Obama said Warren was “absolutely wrong” in her criticisms of the trade deal. When asked if his feud with Warren over the TPP was “personal,” Obama said that “Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else.”
Later on “Morning Joe” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) dismissed Brown’s comments about Obama as “silliness.”
“The President and Elizabeth Warren are friends. I think if he would have called her Sen. Warren, someone would have said, ‘Oh he’s giving her the cold shoulder,'” McCaskill said. “I would be freaked out if he didn’t call me by my first name. We’ve known each other for a long time. I mean, he went to bat for Elizabeth Warren in terms of the Consumer [Financial] Protection Bureau. They worked closely together on Dodd-Frank. He just thinks she’s wrong on this, and he has the right to say that as President of the United States.”
Watch the clip via MSNBC:
This post has been updated.