The takeaway image is of Sen. Amy Klobuchar sitting on a plane, eating her salad with a comb. And she was not happy. That 2008 incident—in which she berated an aide for forgetting her fork and ate with her comb instead—appears in a New York Times article about the senator's apparent mistreatment of staff members over the years. Yes, she could be warm and charming, and had every reason to expect the best, but internal emails and interviews with ex-staffers reveal a darker side. She was known to throw objects, including phones and binders, in their direction; send them angry late-night emails ("In 20 years in politics I have never seen worse prep"); and inflict sudden, cutting remarks: "I would trade three of you for a bottle of water," she allegedly told one on Capitol Hill.
Klobuchar admits she can be a tough boss, and the story isn't new—the Huffington Post recalls that in 2015 then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid urged her to go easier on aides. She also has one of the highest staff turnover rates in the Senate. But some say this is all sexism: "Women shouldn't be expected to nurture their employees or colleagues more than men, and they should be no less entitled to challenge them," Klobuchar's former scheduling director tells BuzzFeed, adding that "it was inspiring to work for another strong woman." But with Klobuchar running for the Democratic presidential nomination, the story isn't going away. And neither are the anecdotes. Eater has even devoted an entire article to what kind of comb Klobuchar likely ate with that day. (See what Klobuchar would do on her first day as president.)