Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) made light of her reputation for verbally abusing her staffers Saturday in remarks at the annual Gridiron Club dinner for journalists and Washington insiders.
Klobuchar joked about the numerous staff mistreatment accusations that have quickly dogged her recently announced 2020 presidential campaign.
“How did everyone like the salad? I thought it was OK, but it needed just a bit of scalp oil and a pinch of dandruff,” Klobuchar said, referring to a report that she used a comb to eat a salad on an airplane in 2008 after an aide forgot to bring her a fork.
Klobuchar berated the aide for the utensil incident and directed him to clean her comb after she finished eating with it, The New York Times reported earlier this month.
RELATED: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar Throughout Her Political Career
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar throughout her political career
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar throughout her political career
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, conducts a hearing on "pay-for-delay" deals between pharmaceutical companies and their generic drug competitors, which critics say keep cheaper forms of medicine off the market, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 23, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Hennepin County, Minn., Attorney Amy Klobuchar and President Clinton look on in the East Room of the White House Tuesday April 25, 2000, as Attorney General Janet Reno discussed reviving stalled hate-crimes legislation. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar, left, and prosecutor Alan Harris talk with reporters, Thursday, April 3, 2003, in Minneapolis after former Minnesota Twins play Kirby Puckett was found not guilty in the alleged sexual assault of a woman in a restaurant bathroom last September. (AP Photo/bill alkofer)
UNITED STATES - JULY 11: Candidate Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - Nov. 08: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., looks at a chart from Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., a member of the agriculture panel and chair of the Senate Budget Committee, during a news conference on the farm program reauthorization bill. Senate progress on the $288 billion measure to renew farm programs ground to a halt Nov. 6 as Democrats and Republicans clashed over which amendments can be offered. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)
Washington, UNITED STATES: US Senator Barbara Boxer (L), D-CA, and Senator-elect Amy Klobuchar (R), D-MN, walk past a group of photographers as they arrive for a bipartisan Senate Women Power Workshop at the office of Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-MD, 14 November 2006 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
From left, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., react as they are acknowledged by President Barack Obama, Friday, June 1, 2012, at Honeywell in Golden Valley , Minn. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 13: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., second from right, poses for a photo opp with Democratic Senators-elect. Reid will take over as Majority Leader when the 110th Congress begins in January 2007. LEFT TO RIGHT: James Webb, D-Va., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Reid, and Jon Tester, D-Mont. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 25: Amy Klobuchar, a Democratic senator from Minnesota, waves to the crowd after speaking during day one of the 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 25, 2008. The DNC will be held from Aug. 25-28. (Photo by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - June 12: At a news conference on oil dependence and global warming, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., checks out a Miles ZX405, an all-electric vehicle produced by Miles Electric Vehicles. The company was founded in 2004 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Miles Rubin. The ZX405 is capable of 25mph and has a range of 40-50 miles. Miles Electric Vehicles is owned by Miles Automotive Group, Ltd, and headquartered at the historic Santa Monica Airport in Santa Monica, CA. (photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
Accompanied by Senators Linsey Graham (L) and Amy Klobuchar (R), US Senator John McCain (C) answers questions during a press conference at the US embassy in Tokyo on April 10, 2009. The three senators are here to exchange views with Japanese officials. AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, prior to the start of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., left, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., right, and Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., second from right, leave the Senate chamber as the leadership negotiates a solution to the "fiscal cliff," the automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts that could kick in Jan. 1., at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 26: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) walks on stage to deliver remarks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) listens to testimony during the confirmation hearing of U.S. Attorney General nominee William Barr January 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Barr, who previously served as Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush, was confronted about his views on the investigation being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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Several people withdrew from consideration to lead Klobuchar’s 2020 campaign, in part because of her behavior as a boss and the hostile work environment she created, HuffPost first reported last month.
BuzzFeed followed with a story on allegations from additional former aides who claimed she sometimes threw objects during her verbal outbursts, accidentally hitting a staffer with a binder during one such incident.
“I cried, like, all the time,” a former staffer told BuzzFeed of the experience working for the lawmaker.
Klobuchar has defended herself against the staff mistreatment allegations. She told reporters in Minneapolis minutes after formally announcing her 2020 presidential bid last month that though she “can be tough,” her demands served a higher purpose.
“Yes, I can push people,” Klobuchar told the reporters. “I have high expectations for myself, I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country.”
Though she’s faced backlash over the allegations, she didn’t shy away from making them the punchline of several jokes on Saturday.
She said that when Girdiron Club President Gerald Seib, the Wall Street Journal’s executive Washington editor, “called me about tonight, he asked, ‘Do you need a microphone or do you just prefer to yell at everyone?’ I said microphone.”