Chelsea Manning, a transgender former U.S. soldier and convicted felon, told the Washington Post in an interview published Friday that she hopes to enact "radical change" in the U.S. with her Senate run.
What was in the interview?
Manning, also a transgender activist, told the publication that she wanted to take down "establishment" policies with her bid.
"The establishment needs to be challenged, and it needs to be challenged in their footholds and in the places where they feel safe," Manning told the Post.
According to the Post, Manning is "pushing for 'radical change' in criminal justice, education and health care."
"This isn’t about criminal justice reform, it’s about criminal justice restructuring. We need to start closing prisons. We need to start releasing prisoners," Manning declared.
Manning also called for cuts to the U.S. defense budget as a way to provide health care for all Americans.
"We’re spending almost $600 billion a year on weapons of war," she explained.
Manning plans to run for the Maryland seat currently held by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.). Cardin is the overwhelming favorite to win.
According to the Post, Manning has received over 1,000 donations from individuals since announcing her intent to run, reportedly eschewing funds from PACs and corporations.
Maryland's Democratic primary is scheduled for the end of June.
What's the history here?
Manning, who as Bradley Manning was convicted on charges related to the theft and leaking of classified government documents, declared earlier in January her intent to run for Senate.
Manning was convicted of nearly two dozen crimes in 2013 after reportedly stealing and leaking over 750,000 classified government documents to organization WikiLeaks and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to time served just before leaving office last January.
She was released in May 2017 after serving just seven years of her 35-year sentence.
During her interview with the Post, Manning also addressed the traitorous behaviors that landed her in prison, expressing sentiments that she felt compelled to do what she did in the name of making the "right decision."
"In a society where people can call Hillary Clinton, James B. Comey — anybody that you disagree with politically becomes a traitor, then we can’t have a debate," she explained. "Given the circumstances that I was in and everything that I knew at the time, I did what I felt was the right decision to make. I can’t go back and change that."
The tenor of Manning's first campaign video — released earlier in January — harbored a very anti-establishment sentiment.
"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 can be heard saying in the video. "We need to stop asking them to give us our rights. They won’t support us, they won’t compromise."
Manning concludes the video with her campaign tagline, "We Got This."
"We need to fix this. We don’t need them anymore — we can do better. You’re damn right we got this," Manning added.
The video, at the time of this writing, has received over 330,000 views.