Chelsea Manning, the transgender Army private who was convicted of crimes under the Espionage Act for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, filed paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate last week.
The Manning campaign released its first campaign ad Sunday night.
What does the video show?
The video is staunchly anti-government and shows many violent clips, including the Charlottesville, Virginia, riot last August and clips of Antifa protesters clashing with police.
The video doesn’t bash President Donald Trump or the GOP by name, but Manning instead took aim at all politicians as powerful people who abuse power and need to be stripped of it.
The video appears to be more of a call-to-action for support and doesn’t offer any policy proposals that Manning plans to bring to Congress.
“We live in trying times. Times of fear, of suppression, of hate. We don’t need more, or better, leaders. We need someone willing to fight,” Manning says in the video. “We need to stop asking them to give us our rights. They won’t support us, they won’t compromise.”
“We need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves,” Manning adds. “We need to actually take the reigns of power from them. We need to challenge them at every level.”
“We need to fix this. We don’t need them anymore — we can do better. You’re damn right we got this,” Manning concludes.
Why is Manning running?
The Washington Post first reported Manning’s decision to run over the weekend. At the time, Manning didn’t give a reason for running. The Post discovered Manning’s plans to run via Federal Election Commission paperwork.
Manning has yet to offer an official statement. On Sunday, Manning tweeted only the link to a campaign video with the statement: “yup, we’re running for senate.”
The former private also tweeted a link for supporters to donate to her campaign.
Manning is running for the seat currently held by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Cardin, a two-term senator, has yet to announce his intentions to run for a third term. If he did, he would be the overwhelming favorite to win. So far, four people have declared their intentions to run for the seat, including Manning.
The state’s Democratic primary is scheduled for the end of June.
What were Manning’s crimes?
Manning was convicted of nearly two dozen crimes in 2013 after she stole and leaked more than 750,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks. The only charge she was acquitted of was aiding the enemy. That charge carried the possibility of a death sentence.
Former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to time served just before leaving office last January and she was released in May 2017.