Gillibrand 2020: My Bad

January 21, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) has been more than willing to denounce her past positions on guns and immigration as wrong and hurtful in a series of interviews.

The 2020 presidential candidate is one of the most liberal members of the Senate, but she's called herself "wrong," "callous," "embarrassed," and "ashamed" over her past views when she was a more moderate member of Congress.

Gillibrand represented an upstate New York district in the U.S. House from 2007 to 2009, and, as a member of the Blue Dog Democrats, held heretical views to the modern Democratic Party on illegal immigration and guns.

She sported an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, an organization she now denounces and proudly holds an "F" rating from, and she opposed amnesty and driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, called for increased funding for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement—she now calls for ICE's abolishment—and supported English being the country's official language

CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Gillibrand Sunday if President Donald Trump is racist, was she racist back then for holding views so similar to his on immigration?

"They certainly weren't empathetic, and they were not kind, and I did not think about suffering in other people's lives," Gillibrand said.

"I was not fighting for other people's kids the same way I was fighting for my own," she added.

On "The Rachel Maddow Show" last week, Gillibrand said she was "callous to the suffering of families who want to be with their loved ones" and regretted she "didn't look beyond" her district.

On "60 Minutes" last year, she assigned some blame to her "98 percent white" district for not having more progressives views on immigration.

"I didn't take the time to understand why these issues mattered because it wasn't right in front of me," Gillibrand said. "And that was my fault. It was something that I'm embarrassed about and I'm ashamed of."

On guns, she told the CBS program she "couldn't have been more wrong" in the past.

"After I got appointed, I went down to Brooklyn to meet with families who had suffered from gun violence in their communities," she said. "And you immediately experience the feeling that I couldn't have been more wrong. I only had the lens of upstate New York."

Gillibrand, in an interview on NY1 last  year, blasted the NRA as a "corrosive organization" that engaged in scare tactics to stymie gun control efforts. Errol Louis asked her if the NRA was engaged in such nefariousness when she had an "A" rating from it.

"They sure were, and now I have an F rating," she said.

In a press conference the day after she announced her formation of a presidential exploratory committee, she was challenged by a reporter to explain her transformations to a suspicious voter.

"I think it's important to know when you're wrong, and to do what's right," she said.