ALBANY, N.Y. — CBS’ 60 Minutes ran a 12-minute segment Sunday night on U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., as she seeks re-election this fall and as she continues to be discussed as a potential presidential candidate.
The national spotlight comes as Gillibrand has risen to the forefront of the Me Too movement after spending years fighting for stronger protections against sexual harassment in the military and sexual assaults on college campuses.
The profile was largely positive, showing the Democratic senator walking along her family’s property in Albany where she grew up, taking a sled ride with her mother and speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem.
“Once President Trump was elected, I think something changed, and I think it changed for women,” Gillibrand said.
5 key quotes
On being the first Democratic member of Congress to call for Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, to resign amid sexual harassment allegations:
“I have a 14-year old son. And I cannot have a conversation that says, ‘Well, it’s OK to grab somebody here, but not there.’ It’s not OK at all.”
She added, “He’s entitled to as much due process as he wants. He doesn’t ever have to resign. That’s his choice … And my choice is to speak out.”
On saying President Clinton should have resigned over the Monica Lewinsky affair, even though she had campaigned with him:
“I wasn’t focused on it in the way I am today. I didn’t have that lens .. .I think I’m not alone here. Like, how many of us were having this conversation even a year ago?”
She wouldn’t say if she had spoken to Bill and Hillary Clinton after she made her comments in November.
“I can tell you one thing. I can tell you that Hillary Clinton is still my greatest role model in politics.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says President Donald Trump’s latest tweet about her was a ‘sexist smear’ aimed at silencing her voice. The New York Democrat says she won’t be silenced on the issue of sexual harassment. (Dec. 12)
On fighting with President Trump:
“I think he should resign, and if he’s unwilling to do that, which is what I assume, then Congress should hold him accountable. We are obligated to have hearings.”
She sparred with Trump on Twitter: He called her a “lightweight” who would “do anything” for campaign cash.
Gillibrand called it a “sexist smear. There’s ways to undermine women and belittle women, and that’s one of them.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand criticized the U.S. Armed Forces, saying, “The military still does not take these cases of sexual assault and sexual harassment seriously.”
On changing from a moderate-to-conservative upstate Democratic congresswoman to a liberal senator:
“After I got appointed, I went down to Brooklyn to meet with families who had suffered from gun violence in their communities. And you immediately experience the feeling that I couldn’t have been more wrong … I only had the lens of upstate New York.”
She said she was “embarrassed” by her stances as a congresswoman — including an “A” grade from the NRA.
“I was wrong. What it’s about is the power of the NRA and the greed of that industry.”
On initially being against amnesty for immigrants and sanctuary cities that protect undocumented immigrants:
“I came from a district that was 98% white. We have immigrants, but not a lot of immigrants. And I hadn’t really spent the time to hear those kind of stories about what’s it like to worry that your dad could be taken away at any moment.”
She added, “I just didn’t take the time to understand why these issues mattered because it wasn’t right in front of me. And that was my fault. It was something that I’m embarrassed about and I’m ashamed of.”
The GOP responds
“@SenGillibrand’s compass is pointed in the direction of the White House, not toward doing what’s right for New Yorkers. Time for real leadership,” the state GOP said on Twitter after the segment.
@SenGillibrand’s compass is pointed in the direction of the White House, not toward doing what’s right for New Yorkers. Time for real leadership. @60Minutes
Chele Chiavacci Farley, a Republican, is seeking the GOP nomination to run in November against Gillibrand.