2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Saturday addressed the bizarre story of her eating a salad with a comb then told a staffer to clean it, saying she was "doing a mom thing" -- as she sought again to combat multiple reports of her mistreating her staff.
“The comb story was me, sort of doing a mom thing. I didn’t have a fork, I used a comb to eat a salad very briefly on a plane,” she said at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas.
Klobuchar was addressing an anecdote, reported in The New York Times, in which an aide neglected to get plastic utensils at an airport in 2008. According to the Times, Klobuchar chastised the aide, then ate the salad using a comb, before handing the comb to the aide and telling him to clean it.
The story has become a more humorous example of more serious allegations of staff mistreatment aimed at the senator, who announced her 2020 intentions last month.
A HuffPost report, citing multiple staffers, found last month that Klobuchar was “well-known” for calling prospective employers of her current staff and shutting down job opportunities. Klobuchar’s office called the claim “completely false.”
According to a Buzzfeed News report, numerous staffers said Klobuchar routinely sent late-night emails and berated subordinates over minor details and missteps. The report also said, "One aide was accidentally hit with a flying binder, according to someone who saw it happen, though the staffer said the senator did not intend to hit anyone with the binder when she threw it."
HuffPost previously reported that Klobuchar’s conduct became so well-known that the Senate minority leader at that time, Harry Reid, D-Nev., told her to change her behavior.
Klobuchar acknowledged in an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier last month that “I can be a tough boss and push people.”
“But that's because I have high expectations of myself, I have high expectations of those who work for me, and I have a high expectation for our country. My chief of staff has worked for me for six years, my state director for seven years, my campaign manager for 14 years."
She echoed that line on Saturday, although she conceded that she can be “sometimes too tough.”
“I know I can be tough on people, sometimes too tough, that I can push them too hard, that I can always do better,” she said.
Fox News' Madeleine Rivera and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.