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New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand officially jumps into 2020 race, teases speech at Trump hotel

Posted at 9:15 AM, Mar 17, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand officially jumped in the 2020 presidential race on Sunday by declaring her Democratic candidacy with a campaign video titled "Brave Wins."

The New York Democrat launched an exploratory campaign in January, announcing it on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," and has spent the past two months traveling to key states.

Toward the end of the two-minute long video released on Sunday , Gillibrand, speaking directly to the camera, announces she's running for president.

The video ends with an invitation to join Gillibrand at the Trump International Hotel on March 24, where she plans to deliver "her positive, brave vision of restoring America's moral integrity straight to President Trump's doorstep," her campaign said in an announcement accompanying the video.

"Our anthem calls America the home of the brave, but we don't realize that the lyrics first pose it as a question ... It asks, 'will brave win?' Well it hasn't always and it isn't right now," Gillibrand says in the video.

"Brave doesn't pit people against one another. Brave doesn't put money over lives. Brave doesn't spread hate, cloud truth, build a wall. That's what fear does," Gillibrand says over news footage, including of President Donald Trump.

"We need to remember what it feels like to be brave," she adds. "We launched ourselves into space and landed on the moon. If we can do that, we can definitely achieve universal health care. We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics and take back our democracy. None of this is impossible."

"Americans are brave every day. ... And its these brave choices that inspire me to take on the fights others won't," Gillibrand says.

Gillibrand, 52, is one of six women seeking the Democratic nomination and one of six senators running for president.

She'll begin her official campaign with a trip to Michigan, a once solidly blue state that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton lost to Trump.

Her first week as a declared candidate will include a visit to the early voting states of Iowa and Nevada, and culminate with her speech on March 24 in front of the Trump International Hotel.

Gillibrand -- whose first name is pronounced "Keer-sten" -- was a former US House representative in a heavily Republican district in New York. She was tapped in 2009 to fill Clinton's US Senate seat in New York when Clinton was named Secretary of State.

She was re-elected to the Senate in 2018 and rose to national prominence as an outspoken critic of Trump, an advocate for women's issues, and a forceful proponent of the #MeToo movement -- all of which will be central to her 2020 campaign.

In 2017, she was the first senator to call for former Minnesota Democrat Al Franken to resign from the Senate after allegations that he touched women inappropriately.

But earlier this week, Gillibrand faced claims that she mishandled allegations of sexual harassment in her Senate office.

A female Senate staffer for Gillibrand resigned in 2018 after she accused a male senior adviser of sexual harassment and felt the investigation was "poorly" handled. The accused staffer was not fired at the time for the allegations.

Gillibrand defended her office's handling of the allegations, saying that her office looked into the accusations "immediately and did a professional and thorough investigation."

Her past conservative record on immigration, guns, and gay marriage is also being scrutinized by the left and attacked by Republicans who seek to paint her as a flip flopper.

Currently, Gillibrand has yet to reach the 1% marker in polls, a Democratic National Committee requirement to be included in the upcoming 2020 debates.