US

Senators are furious at Kirsten Gillibrand for giving Meghan Markle their private number

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is facing a backlash from colleagues for giving Meghan Markle their private cell phone numbers so she could lobby them on paid family leave, according to a new report Thursday. 

Gillibrand is trying to get a private deal on paid family leave after moderate Democratic senator Joe Manchin spiked plans to include it in President Joe Biden‘s $1.75 trillion budget package of social safety net programs.

But those talks hit a ‘speed bump,’ Axios reported, after the Democratic senator form New York passed along her colleague’s private, unlisted mobile numbers to Meghan – as originally reported by Politico – in the hopes the duchess could pressure them to support the plan.

Markle called Republican Senators Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito, both of whom expressed surprise to hear from the Duchess.

It’s unclear how many numbers Gillibrand passed along and if Markle has reached out to any other lawmakers.  

But some lawmakers told Axios, they considered Gillibrand’s move a breach of protocol, leaving them skeptical about future negotiations on paid family leave, two of the aides familiar with the matter told the news outlet. 

Some senators are angry that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gave Meghan Markle their private cell phone numbers, according to a new report

The Duchess of Sussex is seen above with her husband Prince Harry at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the Salute to Freedom Gala

The Duchess of Sussex is seen above with her husband Prince Harry at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for the Salute to Freedom Gala

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is trying to get a private deal with Republicans on paid family leave

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is trying to get a private deal with Republicans on paid family leave

Markle called the two Republican senators and used her royal title to urge them to vote in favor of paid parental leave, it was reported last week – shocking the politicians with her latest foray into political activism.

The move was just the beginning for the Los Angeles-born mother of two, as she is now hoping to be part of ‘a working group to work on paid leave long term,’ according to Gillibrand. 

Gillibrand also told The 19th she plans to invite Meghan to a  bipartisan dinner she is hosting in the coming month with all the women senators to give her a platform to discuss paid leave. 

But Markle’s move have met with some criticism. Republican Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, who has previously condemned the Duchess for interference in American politics, said Meghan should be stripped of her title to stop her using it to gain political leverage. 

‘Ms. Markle’s latest interference in U.S. politics reignites the question in my mind as to why the Royal Family does not simply strip her and Harry officially of their titles, particularly since she insists on sending this under the pretense of being the Duchess of Sussex,’ he told DailyMail.com.

In the United Kingdom, the British Royal family traditionally stays out of politics. 

Armed with the numbers from Gillibrand, however, the Duchess called Republican Senators Susan Collins from Maine and Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia, both of whom said they were shocked that Markle called out of the blue and noted that she even used her royal title to lobby for the cause.

Collins said: ‘I was happy to talk with her, but I’m more interested in what people from Maine are telling me about paid leave.’

Susan Collins, Republican senator for Maine, was called by Markle. She said: 'I told her there were a lot of different approaches, and people were working on it'

Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican senator for West Virginia, said she was shocked to receive a call from Markle

The Duchess of Sussex called Republican Senators Susan Collins from Maine (left) and Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia right), both of whom said they were surprised to hear from her

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex seen in New York with her husband Prince Harry, has also lobbied Democratic congressional issues on the matter of paid family leave

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex seen in New York with her husband Prince Harry, has also lobbied Democratic congressional issues on the matter of paid family leave

It wasn’t Markle’s first involvement with the issue.  

On October 20th, she wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer advocating for paid family leave – a letter that was handed out to several media outlets. 

Capito said she expected the call to be Manchin, her colleague from West Virginia.

She told Politico: ‘I’m in my car. I’m driving. It says caller ID blocked. Honestly, I thought it was Senator Manchin, his calls come in blocked. 

‘And she goes “Sen. Capito?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.”‘

Moore Capito added: ‘I couldn’t figure out how she got my number.’

Collins said she too was called by the 40-year-old.

She expressed amusement that the Los Angeles-born Markle was using her British title to lobby U.S. senators, after having quit the royal family in 2020.  

‘Much to my surprise, she called me on my private line and introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex, which is kind of ironic’ said Collins.  

The senator from Maine told The New York Times: ‘She just weighed in that she thought paid leave was really important, and I told her there were a lot of different approaches, and people were working on it.’ 

Biden had initially hoped to push through plans for a 12-week paid family and medical leave program, costing $500 billion over 10 years.  

The benefit declined from 12 to four weeks and then disappeared all together to win agreement from Manchin and fellow moderate Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. 

Pelosi inserted it back into the version the House will vote on this week but that is expected to be heavily amended when the Senate debates the bill. Paid family leave is not expected to survive the amendment process.  

Gillibrand said she gave senators’ numbers to Markle and noted it was just the start. 

‘I talked to each of the women senators and let them know that she’s going to reach out, because she only completed two of the calls,’ Gillibrand said. 

‘She’s going to call some others, so I let them know in advance.’ 

Gillibrand added: ‘She wants to be part of a working group to work on paid leave long term and she’s going to be. 

‘Whether this comes to fruition now or later, she’ll be part of a group of women that hopefully will work on paid leave together.’  

Markle’s latest intervention heightens speculation that she sees herself in a political position in the future, like her heroines Angelina Jolie and Amal Clooney.

Some have even speculated that she could be considering a run for political office – even the presidency, according to wild online hype. 

In her October 20 letter to Pelosi and Schumer, Markle wrote: ‘I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician. 

‘I’m writing to you at this deeply important time – as a mom – to advocate for paid leave.’ 

The extraordinary 1,030-word letter asked the two Democratic leaders to consider her plea ‘on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry’. 

Markle, pictured above with Prince Harry and her first born Archie, made a rare political statement on paid family leave

Markle, pictured above with Prince Harry and her first born Archie, made a rare political statement on paid family leave

The duchess depicted humble beginnings, saying that her family struggled when she was young – despite her well-documented middle class upbringing in which she attended private primary and secondary schools on her Emmy award-winning lighting director father’s $200,000-a-year salary.  

And she now lives in a $14million sprawling mansion in Montecito, California, complete with designer touches. She has also signed a series of lucrative deals with Spotify and Netflix thought to be worth well over $150million. 

‘I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler,’ Markle wrote. 

‘I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky. I started working (at the local frozen yogurt shop) at the age of 13.

‘I waited tables, babysat, and piecemealed jobs together to cover odds and ends,’ Markle said.

However, she failed to mention the $750,000 California state lottery win her father scooped in 1990, which funded her secondary education at $9,412-a-semester Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.  

Meghan also studied a private primary school – Hollywood’s Little Red Schoolhouse nursery, which she attended from the age of two.

The primary school now costs between $20,000 and $28,300-a-year, and was paid for by her father Thomas and her airline steward mother Doria’s salaries.  

She went on to study at Northwestern, a college in Illinois, that would have cost $24,000-$28,000-a-year for tuition when Meghan studied there from 1999-2003.

But the duchess described working from the age of 13 doing several jobs ‘to cover odds and ends’ and said saving money was a ‘luxury’ in her family in her letter. 

‘I worked all my life and saved when and where I could – but even that was a luxury – because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car.

‘I expect many of your constituents have their own version of that story,’ she continued.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button