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Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to run for president as 'a fierce opponent' of Trump

Gillibrand will have to shake off some #MeToo baggage

Alex Wong/Getty Images

New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced her intention to run for president in 2020 during an interview on "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert.

Gillibrand said she was forming an exploratory committee, and she is reportedly planning a trip to Iowa this weekend.

"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 told Colbert. "That's why I believe health care should be a right and not a privilege. That's why I believe we should have better public schools for our kids because it shouldn't matter what block you grow up on."

Heavy emphasis on intersectionality

Gillibrand enters the race after having notably claimed that "our future is female" and also having expressed concern that 2020 Democratic front-runners are white men. In her announcement interview, the senator said she wants to focus on attacking "systems of power."

"But you are never going to accomplish any of those things if you don't take on the systems of power that make all of that impossible," Gillibrand said, "which is taking on institutional racism; it's taking on the corruption and greed in Washington; it's taking on the special interests that write legislation in the dead of night."

A troubled history with #MeToo issues

Gillibrand is sure to face some difficult questions about her past stances on issues of sexual harassment and misconduct. She has strongly condemned Republicans like former Republican National Committee finance chair Steve Wynn (all his donations should be returned, she said) and President Donald Trump (he should resign over sexual misconduct allegations).

However, she has been less firm in her condemnation of Democrats like former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (It is "his decision" whether to resign) and Bill Clinton ("I don't know all the details").

Gillibrand, who took over Hillary Clinton's Senate seat when former President Barack Obama named her Secretary of State, has been hesitant at times to take a hard stance against the Clintons, with whom she is friendly.

"It's not about any one president, and it's not about any one industry," Gillibrand said last year on "The View" when asked if she regretted campaigning with Bill Clinton.

It's probably fair to expect a good deal of backpedaling from Gillibrand as her campaign progresses.

One last thing…
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