WASHINGTON — White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett — facing an onslaught of criticism in the press — pushed back on Wednesday, suggesting sexism is at play.
Asked about the latest reports in an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Jarrett said, “I guess I would tell you when you break glass ceilings you’re going to get scraped, minor scrapes by a shard or two from the glass.
“But what I really focus on is the hard work that we have in these last two years and I wake up every morning, as I know the president does, focusing on people who are really just trying to get ahead, who are counting on us to work for them.”
Jarrett then referred to the White House Conference on Women and Girls of Color she had just left, where there was talk “about women’s suffrage and the sacrifices women had to make back then when they went on fastings to try to get attention.”
“Just thinking about Lilly Ledbetter and everything she went through to fight for equal pay. And so, if I take a bump or bruise along the way, that’s nothing in compared to the sacrifices that the woman whose shoulders I stand upon along the way.”
The latest rough patch for Jarrett started Friday, after Democrats were thumped in the midterms and pundits started wondering how Obama can get anything done in the two years he has left and if he should shake up his team.
Chicago author Carol Felsenthal wrote a column for POLITICO Magazine headlined “Fire Valerie Jarrett” and things snowballed.
Jarrett has a unique status that transcends any organization chart: She is a close social, professional and political confidante of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle, hiring her in 1991 when she was a honcho in Daley’s City Hall.
She runs the Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls. Critics focus on her broader, less defined role as domestic and international issues adviser.
Sexist attacks? I do know Jarrett’s been through worse. She worked in City Hall.