The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Hoping for a fresh start, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand releases video, plans rally at Trump hotel

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced March 17 that she will hold a rally in front of Trump International Hotel in New York City. (Video: Reuters)

Seeking to reboot her presidential campaign, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Sunday cast herself in a new video as “a leader who makes big, bold, brave choices” and announced she would hold a rally outside one of President Trump’s hotels later this month.

“We launched ourselves into space and landed on the moon,” the New York Democrat said in the video. “If we can do that, we can definitely achieve universal health care. We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics and take back our democracy.”

Her speech outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York City will be held on March 24.

Gillibrand, 52, announced her intention to run for president on Jan. 15 and headed quickly to Iowa and New Hampshire. She had hoped to draw from the increasing political activism of Democratic women but drew smaller early crowds than some better-known contenders, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The latest edition of the Des Moines Register/CNN Iowa poll put Gillibrand’s support at 0 percent.

The New York senator has also faced a series of unwelcome headlines, from a donor’s involvement in a high-profile college admissions scam, to the news that a female staffer in her Senate office resigned after unwelcome sexual advances from a male aide. Gillibrand told reporters that her office had handled the situation in a model way.

“As I have long said, when allegations are made in the workplace, we must believe women so that serious investigations can actually take place, we can learn the facts, and there can be appropriate accountability,” Gillibrand said in a statement at the time. “That’s exactly what happened at every step of this case last year.”

The story did not alter Gillibrand’s focus on gender equity and stopping sexual harassment. In her Sunday video, she said she “took on the Pentagon to end to sexual assault in the military,” recounting one of the causes that brought her national attention.

Gillibrand also used the video to recall how she “turned a red district blue against all odds,” a nod at a question of “electability” that has roused Democratic voters but left some lesser-known candidates struggling for attention.

The New Yorker ran and won her first House race in 2006 as a supporter of gun rights and border control; after her 2009 appointment to the Senate, she steadily moved left, but continued to rack up big statewide win margins. In 2018, she won her third statewide election with 67 percent of the vote, carrying a number of rural counties and congressional districts whose voters had backed Trump in 2016.

On Monday, Gillibrand will head to Michigan for a town hall meeting hosted by MSNBC, then head to Iowa and Nevada to meet voters.

Read more at PowerPost