Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will give her first speech as an official presidential candidate in New York City today, and will call Donald Trump a “coward” in front of his own hotel. The new 2020 candidate will also accuse the president of “tearing apart the moral fabric of our country.”
The New York senator will stand at the doorway of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Manhattan and label it as “a shrine to greed, division and vanity.”
She plans a fiery speech that will hold no punches and take on Trump directly. In one excerpt from her speech she says:
“He demonizes the vulnerable and he punches down. He puts his name in bold on every building. He does all of this because he wants you to believe he is strong. He is not. Our president is a coward.”
According to her campaign, she believes this direct approach will separate her from other 2020 Democratic candidates who have been reluctant to attack the current president by name.
“She’s trying to differentiate herself from the field,” said Maria Cardona, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. “It’s a pretty crowded field. She’s not really in the middle of it, and she needs to be in the middle of it.”
Gillibrand has struggled to stand out among the large group ofother announced and potential 2020 candidates, such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren all of whom have higher name recognition among Democrats.
“Gillibrand simply lacks the star power or national prominence that would lead to extensive free media time,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Polling Institute at Monmouth University.
Opinion polls have shown Gillibrand stuck in the 1-percent range with at least a half dozen other candidates ahead of her.
The senator’s speech today in front of the Trump International Hotel & Tower is her attempt re-launch her campaign. She announced in January that she was exploring a run, then earlier this month announced that she was definitely running.
In her speech today Gillibrand will praise the bravery of high school students who have been organizing to end gun violence. She will also recognize the bravery of young people brought to the country illegally as children who are fighting for “their right to call this country home,” and “of course, the formerly well-behaved women who organized, ran for office, voted and won in 2018.”
“That is brave,” she says.
Gillibrand will also talk about her own courage, which she says was shown by her winning a House seat in a Republican district, by her fighting for funds to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and survivors of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, and by her fighting on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and harassment at the Pentagon, in Congress and on college campuses.
There is no question that Kirsten Gillibrand is a brave and strong advocate for causes she believes in. But there are many questions about her ability to compete for and win the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.