New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced she is forming an exploratory committee to run for president, throwing her hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination in an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that aired Tuesday night.
"Yes. I'm filing an exploratory committee for president of the United States — tonight," she said.
"I'm going to run for president of the United States, because as a young mom, I'm going to fight for other people's kids as hard as I would fight for my own," Gillibrand said. She mentioned her support for universal health care, public school and job training programs.
"But you are never going to accomplish any of these things if you don't take on the systems of power which make all of that impossible," she continued. "Which means taking on institutional racism, it's taking on the corruption and greed in Washington, and taking on the special interests that write legislation in the dead of night, and I know that I have the compassion, courage, and fearless determination to get that done."
Colbert asked Gillibrand to name the first thing she would do as president. She mentioned restoring American leadership in the world and addressing climate change, but first trying to reunite the country.
"The first thing I would do is restore what's been lost — the integrity and the compassion of this country," Gillibrand said. "If you want to get things done, you have to get people together."
When asked how she would address a government shutdown, Gillibrand reiterated she would try to find common ground between differing parties. She gave examples of her own bipartisanship, such as working on sexual harassment legislation with a Republican unpopular with Democrats.
"Ted Cruz and I agreed on how to end sexual harassment in Congress, which ultimately passed. Me and Ted Cruz!" Gillibrand said. Colbert quipped she cared about something so much she would talk to Ted Cruz.
Colbert also asked more joking questions, asking her what swear word she would miss the most if she tried not to swear on the campaign trail.
"Rhymes with 'duck,'" Gillibrand joked.
Colbert also gave her joking campaign gifts, like a plane ticket to Michigan and granite from New Hampshire. He also gave her a pin saying, "I announced on the 'Late Show with Stephen Colbert.'"
Gillibrand is the second U.S. senator — and second female senator — to announce plans to begin the legal process of running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. The 52-year-old is one of the most active and outspoken critics of President Trump and she earned acclaim from party activists when she began voting against all of the president's cabinet and senior government nominees in early 2017.
Gillibrand would join a Democratic presidential field beginning to take shape. Over the weekend, former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Julián Castro formally launched his presidential bid, while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren launched an exploratory committee on New Year's Eve. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii said over the weekend she plans to form an exploratory committee in the coming days. Several other senators, current and former governors and mayors, and former Vice President Joe Biden are still mulling potential campaigns.
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