‘If Trump’s immigration positions are racist, were they racist when you held some of those positions as well?’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) CNN Host Jake Tapper put Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in an awkward position on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”
Gillibrand announced last week that she will seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. But while doing so, the notorious flip-flopper was put on the spot regarding her past immigration positions.
“You were more conservative early on in your career on immigration,” Tapper said.
Most recently, Gillibrand has taken a hardline pro-immigration stance, becoming one of a handful of elected leaders to openly advocate for the radical abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
During her 2006 campaign, however, Gillibrand described herself as a “firm opponent” of “amnesty to illegal aliens.”
She also stated that “English should be made the official language of the United States.”
In some ways, she ran a more conservative campaign on immigration than President Donald Trump did in 2016.
Gillibrand said the federal government should begin “expediting the removal of illegal aliens.”
“Now I know you have very different positions today, but let me ask you,” Tapper said. “If Trump’s immigration positions are racist, were they racist when you held some of those positions as well?”
“They certainly weren’t empathetic, and they weren’t kind, and I did not think about suffering in other people’s lives,” Gillibrand said.
She then admitted to changing her position for political expediency.
“One thing I did 10 years ago when I became senator and was gonna represent 20 million people across our state, I recognized that a lot of places in my state thought different and I needed to understand what those constituents needed too,” Gillibrand said.
“And so I took the time,” she continued. “I was not caring about others. I was not fighting for other people’s kids the same way I was fighting for my own, and I was wrong to feel that way.
Tapper pushed back.
“So what’s the difference though, just to help me understand, between your previous positions, which you characterize as wrong and not empathetic, and President Trump’s positions today that you call racist?” he asked.
Gillibrand characteristically deflected by slinging more blame at Trump for advancing her former campaign positions.
“So what President Trump is doing is creating fear and division and a darkness across this country that I’ve never seen before,” Gillibrand said. “One of the reasons I’m running for president, Jake, is because we have to restore that integrity to our presidency.”
Following many Democrats’ recent decision to quietly cast off the Women’s March movement for its unabashed support of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Gillibrand hopped on the bandwagon last week, publicly condemning its pervasive anti-Semitism.
Evidently, however, the opportunity to use it as a campaign launchpad in a crucial primary state outweighed her tacit endorsement of the movement’s bigotry.
On Saturday, she was the keynote speaker at a Women’s March event in Iowa.
Her spokesperson, Meredith Kelly, explained that the selfless senator could not “turn her back” on the legions of oppressed women in the Hawkeye State who needed her inspiration.
UPDATE from spox @meredithk27: Kirsten Gillibrand believes anti-Semitism “has no place in a movement for women’s empowerment or anywhere else,” but she will “not turn her back on the thousands of Iowa women who are joining this locally organized march.” Full statement: pic.twitter.com/zK5O1Ahd2u
— Ruby Cramer (@rubycramer) January 17, 2019