New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand signaled Friday she's open to removing existing sections of the border wall, as her potential 2020 rival Beto O'Rourke suggested.
O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman who led an unsuccessful Senate campaign last year, was asked Thursday if he would support taking down the existing border wall in his home city of El Paso. "Absolutely, I'd take the wall down," he told MSNBC's Chris Hayes.
The next day Gillibrand was asked by a reporter during a New Hampshire campaign stop whether she agreed with O'Rourke's comments.
"He was talking about El Paso, but the idea of dismantling some of the wall, good idea, bad idea?" asked the reporter.
"Well, I'd have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful," Gillibrand responded. "Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security. Democrats have funded border security for decades."
Gillibrand reiterated her view that Trump's proposed border wall was "medieval-style" and "a hateful message."
"He's trying to create a picture of division and hate and derision, and that’s what I’m so offended by," she said. "The fact that he spews this kind of racism in his words and actions is troubling."
Still, she concluded, "I could look at it and see which part [O'Rourke] means and why, and if it makes sense, I could support it."
Gillibrand has laid down a much more committed progressive line in her recent comments about another major Democratic issue: the Green New Deal. She emphasized in multiple interviews that she will push the "moonshot" plan convert America's power system entirely to green energy.
"There's so much opportunity in this bill for economic growth and really fixing things that are broken," she said Tuesday. "So why not have an aspirational goal? And maybe some things are hard to get to, and maybe we won't actually get there, but why not at least try?"