On Sunday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made an attempt to revive her presidential candidacy during a Fox News town hall event in Dubuque, Iowa by embracing late-term abortion, and describing the National Rifle Association (NRA) as “the worst organization in this country.” During the town hall meeting, moderator Chris Wallace went up against Gillibrand’s attack on Fox News’ coverage of elected Democrats’ comments and actions on infanticide: “Instead of talking about Fox News, why don’t you answer Susan’s question?,” referring to an audience member who questioned Gillibrand about late-term abortion.
In the wake of the 12 people who were massacred on Friday at a Virginia Beach municipal building, the town meeting was mostly focused on gun violence. “Americans are feeling ripped apart by the gun deaths we have seen, year after year, month after month. The most outrageous thing that’s happened to our democracy is how much fear, and division, and hate has been spread. I think the NRA is the worst organization in this country for doing exactly that. They care more about their profits than the American people.”
Gillibrand continued by calling for universal background checks, a ban on bump stocks, and a federal anti-weapons trafficking law. Gillibrand also accused the NRA of having a “chokehold” on Congress members. It’s important to mention that the Trump administration has already banned bump stocks, despite objections of conservatives who raised concerns about the constitutionality of it.
Wallace pointed out that the shooting on Friday wouldn’t have been stopped by any of Gillibrand’s proposals. He also questioned whether she could give more specific ideas that could have prevented the murders from happening. “Stop being beholden to the NRA like President Trump is. The NRA is lying to the American people. It is not about the Second Amendment. It is about gun sales. … It is literally about greed and corruption, and making sure the status quo remains the same,” replied Gillibrand.
Wallace also pointed out that in 2009 Gillibrand boasted about receiving an “A” rating from the NRA. She also said that she kept two guns under her bed. Gillibrand was also a member of the conservative Democratic Blue Dog coalition when she represented New York’s rural 20th congressional district in the House.
Gillibrand first began realigning her political views when she was appointed by then-New York Gov. David Paterson to fill the seat in Senate that was vacated by Hillary Clinton in 2009. “I came from a district that was really rural — Second Amendment was important, hunting was important. I recognize people have different communities,” said Gillibrand. When Gillibrand was asked what changed in her once she arrived in the Senate and received an “F” rating from the NRA, Gillibrand said: “Just realizing that not every part of this country is like my rural, upstate district.”
Gillibrand also issued her endorsement of abortion rights, and she insisted that she would “codify Roe v. Wade, so it is forever the law of the land” when she was asked to clarify whether or not she supported late-term abortions. Gillibrand also suggested that “all-male” legislators were behind the passage of several pro-life “heartbeat” laws that have recently passed in the southern states. Even though Alabama’s female governor, Kay Ivey, passed the state’s anti-abortion law, and the person responsible for passing a similar bill in Louisiana is a black woman. There are several other female legislators in support of this bill as well.
At one point during the meeting, Gillibrand attempted to attack Fox News for their coverage of Democrats’ efforts to block anti-infanticide legislation. Wallace interjected, saying that Gillibrand wanted to enhance her credibility among progressives by taking jabs at the network. Gillibrand defended her decision to call for former Minnesota Dem. Sen. Al Franken’s dismissal because of the allegations that he behaved inappropriately and made improper physical contact with women. She referred to a conversation that she had with her own son at the time. “Theo, it’s not okay to grope a woman anywhere on her body without her consent. … It’s not OK for Al Franken, and it’s not OK for you,” she recalled.
Apparently, key Democrat donors swore off Gillibrand after the event, accusing her of trying to advance her career at the expense of the party. In an interview with The Washington Post, billionaire left-wing donor, George Soros, stated that Gillibrand was the only Democrat that he hoped wouldn’t win. In response, Gillibrand said: “I was not going to remain silent. If a few Democratic donors are angry because I stood by eight women … that’s on them.” Wallace argued that Gillibrand could be seen as an opportunist, especially because she only said that Bill Clinton should have resigned after Hillary Clinton lost in 2016.
Attempting to turn the subject to her work on women’s issues, Gillibrand said: “Do we value women?” She continued by saying: “What the #MeToo movement has been about, has been creating space for men and women to come forward and tell their truth.”