AP NEWS

Kirsten Gillibrand ‘ashamed’ of past moderate views on illegal immigration

April 10, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Tuesday that she’s “ashamed” of the more moderate views she held on illegal immigration in the past, telling potential supporters that her beliefs have significantly changed since her Blue Dog days.

Ms. Gillibrand, who represented a conservative district in upstate New York from 2007 to 2009, said during a CNN town hall that her policy positions back then did not treat others like she would “want to be treated.”

“And because I did not do that as a House member, I was ashamed,” she said.

“When I was a member of Congress from upstate New York, I was really focused on the priorities of my district. When I became senator of the entire state, I recognized that some of my views really did need to change,” she said. “They were not thoughtful enough and didn’t care enough about people outside of the original upstate New York district that I represented. So, I learned.”

Ms. Gillibrand touted her willingness to acknowledge her mistakes as a stark contrast to President Trump.

“And I think for people who aspire to be president, I think it’s really important that you’re able to admit when you’re wrong and that you’re able to grow and learn and listen and be better and be stronger,” she said. “That is something that Donald Trump is unwilling to do. He is unwilling to listen, he is unwilling to admit when he’s wrong. He’s actually incapable of it. And I think it’s one of the reasons why he is such a cowardly president.”

As a New York representative, Ms. Gillibrand supported more conservative policies on illegal immigration, like opposing driver’s licenses for illegals and supporting legislation that would withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities. Ms. Gillibrand’s policy positions have moved decidedly to the left since she took her Senate seat in 2009. Last year, she became the first sitting senator to support the call to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Ms. Gillibrand has previously expressed regret about her moderate policy stances on immigration and guns.