‘long, hard thought’ to presidential run
NY Democrat tells “Late Show” host Colbert she will give “a long, hard thought” to challenging Trump in 2020
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tells TV host that she will consider whether to run for the nation’s highest office in 2020.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will give “a long, hard thought” to launching a 2020 presidential bid, she told Stephen Colbert in an interview broadcast Thursday night.
It was the Democrat’s clearest indication that she’s considering a challenge to President Donald J. Trump.
On CBS’ “The Late Show,” Colbert asked Gillibrand if, after her re-election to the Senate on Tuesday, she might be interested in any other post — making it clear that he was referring to the White House.
In an extended response, she said that “the hatred and the division” that Trump had engendered has “called me to fight as hard as I possibly can to restore the moral compass of this country.”
Circling back to Colbert’s question, Gillibrand responded: “I will give it a long, hard thought of consideration.”
During the campaign, she insisted she was totally focused on her Senate reelection bid and not looking beyond that.
In her lone debate against Republican opponent businesswoman Chele Farley, Gillibrand said she would serve out her full six-year term.
Farley responded, “Honestly, I don’t believe that.”
Gillibrand trounced Farley, (64-33 percent) on Tuesday, racking up big numbers in New York City, Albany and the state’s other urban areas. She also did well in traditionally Republican zones such as the North Country and the stretch between Syracuse and Binghamton.
Assured of six more years on Capitol Hill, Gillibrand is now free to encourage speculation — at least until next spring, when she would need to start a nationwide network if she chooses to run.
Gillibrand, who recently authored a children’s book on the suffrage movement, will be on high-profile television talk shows such as “The View” in the coming weeks.
The 52-year-old, who lives in Rensselaer County, would not be the first presidential candidate to have initially denied an intention to run.
As a U.S. senator from Illinois, President Barack Obama denied he had presidential ambitions on NBC’S “Meet the Press” in 2006 — two years before he won the White House. Dwight D. Eisenhower similarly said he was too busy as supreme allied commander of NATO to consider a presidential bid in 1952. But the architect of the Allied victory in Eu-
rope in World War II ended up running as a Republican that year, and went on to win two terms.
On Colbert’s show, Gillibrand cast the decision in moral terms. “I believe in right versus wrong, and until this
election, I thought wrong was winning,” she said, referring to Tuesday’s Democratic gains such as winning the majority in the House.
Whether Democratic gains are enough to embolden Gillibrand remains to be seen. Republicans claim Gillibrand’s record is too insubstantial to challenge Trump, who has called her a
“She’s an empty suit — a non-entity,” state Republican Party Chair Ed Cox said in an interview Friday.
He pointed to her A rating from the National Rifle Association when she served in the House a decade ago, only to get downgraded to an F after her 2009 appointment to the Senate to replace
Hillary Clinton. Gillibrand has explained her shift on gun control and other issues as the result of educating herself on issues that weren’t as much in focus for her congressional district.
“She was Annie Oakley and now she’s Jane Fonda, playing to the left of the party,” Cox said.