tv Campaign 2020 Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at Washington Post Live CSPAN August 22, 2019 4:34am-5:21am EDT
our guest is senator kiersten gillibrand. fill theppointed to seat of one of her mentors, hillaryy of state clinton. she is known for her work on behalf of women. she has endorsed paid family leave, sponsored legislation to help reduce maternal mortality, and spoken out against sexual harassment and assault, including in congress. about we will hear more these efforts and her other priorities, including medicare for all, gun control, and immigration policy. she will also share thoughts about her campaign, including her strategy for making it onto the democratic stage in houston next month. please join me in welcoming kissinger legrand and "the washington post" bob costa. [applause]
>> thank you much for joining us here at "washington post" live. really appreciate you taking the time, senator. busy on the campaign trail. yesterday, i was in missouri. what we have seen is an all-out assault on women's reproductive freedom and we went to the front about, what does an attack on women's reproductive rights mean for women? it is a health care issue where they don't have the ability to
make the decisions about how many children they are having. it is an issue of economics, not having health care access to the health care they need. .eaning it will fall to women and issues of just basic human rights, that you are telling women that they can't have agency over their own bodies to make these hard decisions. we have been leading the debate. we have been leading the debate on why national paid leave matters. why equal pay for equal work matters. and making sure no matter who you are, where you live or who you love, you can actually access family rights like national paid leave and adopting children. ispite all that, i think it really important that my voice
is heard on the national stage, so we can talk about these issues and it is why i hope your viewers go to my website and send a dollar so i make the next debate stage. >> despite all the things you aid out and you represent major stage, you have struggled to get attention and traction. why do you feel that is? >> i feel this is an opportunity for democrats to really see what we stand for as a party, to lift of voices that are not being heard. one of the things i'm most proud of is him leading the debate on issues like getting money out of politics and i think my voice needs to be on the next debate stage. i think these rules for the dnc are new and people are not aware of them. to get to the debate stage i need to have 130,000 individual supporters and i am just over 110,000. i am hoping everyone here sends one dollar so i can make the debate stage.
you also need to have a national poll. having enough national polls is important. they are not my rules. i have to follow them. i have to meet these goals and i believe in the grassroots. i believe every person in this room, every person watching, that their voice actually matters. that is why i am here speaking to all of your listeners and viewers to say your voice matters today. if you want money out of politics on that debate stage, i hope you will agree my voice is needed. bob: will you make the debate stage in houston? sen: gillibrand: i believe i will. bob: how close are you? sen: gillibrand: very. [laughter] but i need help. bob: they are aware of the website by now. [laughter]
sen. gillibrand: you keep asking me so i keep telling you. bob: you are trying to get on the stage, if you don't make the stage -- sen: gillibrand: i am going to make the stage. bob: if a candidate does not make the stage, should they reconsider their campaign? sen. gillibrand: it is up to them. i also have a very different experience than other candidates coming from a blue state. you either have to be a uber progressive who can inspire the base or be a moderate who wins the red or purple areas. i believe you have to do both. not only do i lead on women's rights and gay rights and will pass the green new deal, i know how to do it. i passed big legislation. don't ask, don't tell repeal.
the 9/11 health bill, i just made it permanent so our first responders had health care compensation for the rest of their lives. president trump assigned each of these bills into law even know he does not know he did. i get a lot done. even more important is electability. i win in the red and purple places in new york than higher-margin than anyone before. better than hillary clinton, president obama, any person who has ever run for senate or governor. 72% is my threshold. i can win in places like ohio, pennsylvania and wisconsin. bob: you say you don't need to be just a moderate or liberal. sen. gillibrand: you need to be both. bob: where do you fit into that spectrum? sen. gillibrand: i am at the
forefront of a lot of our progressive issues. i know a lot of the parts of it. i know you have to put a price on carbon to use market forces to address global climate change. i know how to find republicans to do it on a bipartisan basis. i'm effective in the senate. you need somebody who is both. at the forefront of big ideas, women's rights, gay rights, clean air, clean water, making sure we don't compromise our values and knowing how to find republicans to work with you. when we repealed don't ask, don't tell, we did not water down the bill. we found brave republicans to help lead the way. we have the seven we needed, i had to work with democrats. there were democrats who said to me, why are you doing this now? it is not convenient. i'd look them in the eye and said, when our civil rights ever convenient? you do it because it is the right thing to do. i know how to get things done and that is what everybody needs. i am a progressive but i know how to find common ground to do things on a bipartisan basis.
bob: should chairman nadler introduce articles of impeachment this fall? sen. gillibrand: my view is yes because i believe we have a responsibility. we have a responsibility to provide oversight and accountability over the executive branch when are such serious allegations of wrongdoing. the mueller report is detailed. it has multiple serious, factual analyses of instruction of justice. -- of structure and of justice. robert mueller said to us, if he could have exonerated the president, he would have. he also said clearly he did not believe you have a legal basis to indict. i think he laid out that report that it is your job, congress, to go through the allegations, the facts, lifted up to the american people so we know what took place. i think we need to be in the impeachment proceedings, barr, which i think is essential given the allegations in the report.
president trump continues to obstruct that. i think it is necessary. i do understand the importance of what speaker pelosi has put forward that we want the american people to know our agenda. she has done that. the first few days has done that. getting money out of politics, economic issues, job training issues, how to vitalize. she is on it. mr. costa: you went after joe biden on his recent debate on as uppity year ago. on policy, what are the key differences between you and him? he is leading in the polls. sen. gillibrand: i don't know. he wrote an op-ed a long time ago where he said some pretty stark things even for that time. he said that a parent working
outside the home was resulting in the deterioration of the family. he said a parent working outside the home was avoiding responsibility. as a woman who has worked outside the home for her whole access to affordable, high-quality day care at the time, i wanted to know specifically what did you mean when you wrote those things. did you think me, a member of congress, was somehow undermining the family or deteriorating the family or i was avoiding responsibility? i respectfully just asked we didn't have the conversation. let me explain why this matters to me personally. not only did my grandmother worked outside the home a long time ago, because it was important but my mother worked outside the home.
i want to know why he believed they were somehow deteriorating the family. they are my role models. it is why i'm running for president of the united states and why i believe instead of a misogynist in the white house, we need a working mom. it is why i have let on these issues of making sure all people can have access to paid family leave. it is why i lead on making affordable day care and universal pre-k a central part of my campaign. the question is a legitimate question. did you believe it then and he you believe it today? if you do, we need to lead on those issues. what has changed is that he is running for president. when you have written those words and said something so far out of step with the already, i just need to know that you don't believe it anymore. that is a legitimate question. >> we have seen you criticize
when you sign on to a bad trade deal that is a giveaway to corporate interests, it harms us. i think trumps bad trade deal is a giveaway to companies in new mexico, locking in higher profits then they would ever be entitled to his a giveaway. that is what is wrong with some of our trade agreements. i did not support ttp. specifically, to transpacific partnership, because there were locked and guarantees for multinational companies where they would have more power than a local government trying to protect our air and water. imagine our country is trying to say this particular byproduct of this manufacturer is causing cancer. we don't want it in our air or water we want litigation against the multinational company. under that tdp agreement, they did not have the right to do that. that is out rages. i really cannot support bad trade agreements that are giveaways. mr. costa: vice president biden sports a public option under obama's health care law. if you are the democratic nominee, how do you fight that argument on the right? sen. gillibrand: on medicare for all? it is easy.
i'm different from most candidates running for president because i have an understanding about how people who live in his places who are republican see the world. i hate to admit this but i have uncles who voted for trump. [laughter] sen. gillibrand: so i know what is going on in their minds. when i ran for congress, in 2005, iran on medicare for all. -- i ran on medicare for all. when i was traveling around my congressional district, this was pre-obamacare. people were being dropped from their coverage because of pre-existing conditions. their insurance company's charge too much money, co-pays and deductibles were too high. they could not afford it. it is a life or death issue. every issue the american people care about our kitchen table issues, that they struggle with every night that they cannot get sleepover because they are worried about it. it is when their child is sick
and they do not know how they will pay for the treatment they need. i know what this feels like as a mom. a toddler has an allergic reaction to eggs. he touched his high -- his eye, his face blew up the right doused him and water and gave him benadryl and rushed to the emergency room. i was afraid his throat would close. the one thing i was not afraid of is i had an insurance card in my wallet and a credit card in my wallet. imagine every mother or father rush into the emergency room who has no security or knowledge that they could buy whatever health care their child needs to save their life. that is the reality for people today, for people in 2005.
i said to my district, how would you feel if you could buy medicare at a price you could afford, the matter what, it is always there for you, always there for you. they loved it. this is a 2-1 republican district. if i am president, i can go to district. anywhere in this country and say, why not have a not-for-profit public option competing with your insurance that charges you too much money. why do you think a for-profit company cares about whether you get access to the medicine you need or that second day in the hospital or the treatment that costs too much money? they don't appear they have an obligation to their shareholder and not to you. it is how the economy works. that is how for-profit companies work. it is their obligation. i can sensibly say to them let's at least have a not-for-profit option that you could buy into. they liked it then, they would like it today. i can take it to republican members of congress and say let's just try and he how it works. it will work. before you go about medicare for all, the people who are smart in the room who know a lot about
health care, it will have to cover vision and dental and hearing. all the things that people have to buy extra insurance to get to make it work. second, make sure the reimbursement rates to the hospital actually covers costs. those two changes to medicare you can build on. give them five years. create a transition time, which i wrote into senator sanders bill. it is necessary. it is necessary. let people buy in over 45 years and see how many buy in? i would not be surprised if it was 90% of americans pay more than 90% of americans -- would you like to have access to all the health you need a $4000 a year? you would want it. mr. costa: you mentioned an uncle who supported president trump -- sen. gillibrand: i have not spoken to him about it. so i do not know why. i'm still angry. from them, by out the way. i said, "that cannot be true,
they knew how much i loved hillary. it cannot be true." but, yes. >> you used to be the u.s. representative for that area of new york. you had to persuade voters to support you. now you represent the whole state of new york and you're running for president of the united states. how do you convince those uncles and others like them who support gun rights to now support gun control? sen. gillibrand: this is also easy for me. so, i think the amount of gun deaths we have seen in the last decade is alarming. we do not want to live in a world where we teach our children shelter in place drills as opposed to nasa drills -- math drills. i cannot imagine the fear every parent is feeling now because the last shooting was sam was
-- was families going to walmart for back-to-school shopping. it is not an america we should want to live in, where there is so much anxiety and easy access is individual shooters have two weapons of war. america today, we have americans fueled by hate, racism, division, hunting down other people with weapons of war. i think there is already common ground on this. i think nra members want to ban military style assault weapons and large magazines. they want universal background checks. i cannot imagine something more common sense than people on the terror watch list not being able to buy a weapon. the last one is the easiest. it just says law enforcement -- after gun traffickers. a city like chicago or new york city, it is true.
his weapons get sold to gang members with no opportunity for a background check because there is no federal anti-gun trafficking law. we got 58 votes. you need 60 votes to pass the law in the senate. this close to passing it. if mitch mcconnell had the courage to stand up to the nra, we would stand up on those three measures and i would not be surprised if all of them passed today. mr. costa: should the federal government ban assault weapons and force people to sell them? sen. gillibrand: we have a federal statute right now that mandates how we treat certain weapons of war. we use them requiring certain weapons or like machine guns registered, that you have to get your fingerprints done and have background checks. you could use the same statute for all military style assault weapons. i think you should make it illegal to buy them or sell them. you do not want to create a black market. it should be illegal to use them.
we should pass a federal ban on these weapons and large magazines. we have done that before, we can do it again. that is a regulatory framework and you should have a nationwide buyback so people who purchase these weapons because they are gun enthusiasts could actually have them purchased back by the federal government. that is the framework you should use. >> would you force people to sell them back to the government? sen. gillibrand: you would create fear using that language. a debate people don't want to have. but you could basically get it done through the combination of a guaranteed federal buyback combined with this mandatory registration as we use the framework for machine guns over a decade ago. mr. costa: if you choose to keep the gun in your home, there is not a penalty under your plan? sen. gillibrand: you could look at that, but if it is just in your home and you're not using it or buying or selling it, there is no harm there. you want to make sure there is
no black markets, you want to make sure there is no buying or selling and you can look at it and keep all options on the table, but your first step would be the regulatory framework we used for machine guns combined with a ban on assault weapons and a ban on purchasing and selling. i think that is the strongest and effective legal framework you can create. >> and has been well tread territory that you have evolved on guns over the years. you were supported by the nra as a member at the house. you now have an f rating from the nra. the question i have when you think about your history on guns, did your private views change over the years or were you always against guns privately but for political reasons were supportive of the nra? sen. gillibrand: it was simple for me. as a member of congress 10 years ago, i supported the second amendment. i still support the second amendment. what i recognized when i became a senator is i need to do much
more. gun violence and gun death across our state and our country. as a congress member, i should have cared what was happening in places outside of my district. that is what leadership is. i recognized pretty quickly i was wrong and i was going to lead on the issue. when you meet a family who lost someone to gun violence, it changes you. meeting with the parents of a young teenage girl hit me as a moment where i recognized i was not leading in the way i should have been. i made sure those parents knew she did not die in vain and i made sure her classmates knew that i will lift up her story as an urgency about why we need to end gun violence in this country. that is why got to work with a number of advocates on how we have gun violence.
that is why authored the anti-gun trafficking law. a lot in the city with his young girl lost her life -- >> what about before that when columbine happened? it is not about what you should have done, what were your personal views when columbine happened or come violence before 2009, regardless of your political position? sen. gillibrand: i have always been against gun violence and gun deaths and against children losing their lives. that is who i am and it has always been way. as a member of congress, i should have been looking to legislative solutions to protect those people. that is what i should have done. but i have the humility to recognize i was wrong. which many elected leaders do not. especially president trump. imagine president trump admitting he is wrong on anything? hey neither has the humility, the wisdom, nor the courage to do that and it makes him a
weaker leader. we should want a president who can admit when they are wrong. >> you have been a leader on sexual harassment issues. in the military and nationally, what's your context looking back for how you handled that? >> so for those who remember at moment in time, senator franken had eight credible allegations against him that were corroborated in realtime. two were since he was elected. and the eighth one, the act one that got my attention was a congressional staffer. i got to point where enough was enough and i couldn't defend
him, unwanted groping and forcible kissing. i decided that i had to say they couldn't support it anymore or couldn't support hip. 34 other senators followed me. some within mince. many of whom are running for president today. t may not seem like that today because i think it is stand alone. i would stand by that staffer today and i would do it again. it is hard. there are some democratic donors who want to punish me for the behavior of senator franken and hold me accountable for his decisions. my decision was to call on him to resign. his decision was to resign, to not wait for his congressional hearing. to not wait for his next election. those are his decisions. his alone.
>> did you call on senator shumer to work with you on that at the time? >> i'm not going to divulgeprivate conversations. i spoke with colleagues. the fifth and sixth allegations were particularly disturbing. one of the women was in the ilitary. she had come forward and i know what happens in the military. i know what courage it takes for someone in the military to come forward because more often than not their careers are ended when they come forward and they are retaliated against. justice is hard on that issue. i personally was very concerned that this was something that was very hard for me to stay silent. and that was shared by a number of members of the senate at the time and we discussed it and had our own personal views about how we felt. i remember in our work, in this
space was just keep moving along. we were having hearings, press conferences, work on military sexual assault. this is all happening at the same time. it was a particularly disturbing time for all of us. >> should the senate wait for thette ix committee to review? is there a process? >> there is a process. it is poorly run that i was working on at the time to make it a better process. we were working to pass unanimously. the process is that you are entitled to a hearing by the ethics committee but what you're not entitled to is the silence of your colleagues and asking
members of congress to stay silent and not be heard on something they care passionately about, whether we value women, whether they are survivors, whether there is someone to stand by them, that's absurd. for our party to ask member tors u.s. senate, particularly the women who came forward to say enough is enough is an outrage. >> you said you recently spoke to one of the accusers. would you oppose a political comeback by senator franken? >> there is always room for redemption of anybody. i don't know why this conversation is so difficult. anyone who wants a second chance, it is always there for everyone. we're a country that believes in second chances. we believe in someone who has humility, who comes forward to say they are sorry and they have paid consequences and want to re-emerge. that's always there for everyone. that's a decision for someone to
make themselves. it is not my decision. it is certainly not my responsibility. it is for someone else to make their own adjustments and decisions. there is a path of redemption for anybody. >> what about political journalist mark halpern. does he have a path to dredges or not? >> it is not for me to judge. it hearts with humility and recognition that you acknowledge that you have done something wrong. people make mistakes all the time. that acknowledgment and having you just havef -- to go through it. depends on what you're accused of and what the facts are and the allegations are. obviously if you created a criminal offense, assault, you may very well be doing jail
time. i think someone who has done something should have their right to vote back. these are allegations. is it just you made a mistake or you harassed someone? there is a different path. it is not a criminal allegation. >> do you approve or disapprove of the democrat who is participated in mr. halpern's book. >> i don't know enough about the allegations. it is not my job to be the purveyor of disapproval. >> are we headed to a recession or not. you represent new york. you represent wall street. what is your read on the economy? >> i disagree with president trump that there is a speers -- conspiracy. >> what do you mean by that?
>> well, i disagree with president trump that the economy is strong for everyone and that the fake news of america today is somehow misleading the people. i was in youngstown a month ago on my broken promises bus tour to talk about all the trump broken promises about the economy, about getting this costor prescription drugs down, about social security, medicare, medicaid and went straight to the voters who voted for him. i was showing democrats how i would beat president trump. i was talking about how he lied to the american people and misled them and i would go right to his backyard. women ho just and lost their jobs because a g.m. plant is closing. some of them were notify bid a
text message after being there for 25 years. they do not feel like to economy is soaring. they continue to see how bad trade deals affect them negatively and they see their community is being left behind. as president, i believe the economy has to be our priority. making sure anyone underemployed jobnemployed gets access to training. to reinvestr skills in them. use the deal to invest in new energy markets, wind, solar, hydropower. solar panel manufacturing in communities left behind. president you can mar shall
-- marshall principal resources. i think president trump hasn't spent time talking to real people about what is going on in their lives. the underemployment rate is far higher than anyone estimated. you go to places like ohio and pennsylvania, you go to places like iowa and new hampshire. they will tell you, they might have a job and they may not be counted as an unemployed but they are deeply underemployed and you see it on the number living below the poverty line. their unemployment rate is 2.something but 20% are living below the poverty line. there is your disconnect. they can't put together enough hours, they can't put together high enough pay actually provide for their families. >> some of your rivals take pride saying that wall street would fear them if they were
elected president. should wall street fear you if you won the white house? >> i believe you need to do a lot of things differently and there needs to be more oversight and accountability. i would first repeal the trump tax cut which was a massive giveaway for the elite of the elite in terms of wealthy americans but also amongst the elite and most successful companies. >> the whole tax cut? >> i would leave in place the middle class tax cut and take away the tax cuts that went to the ultrawealthy. that is worth about $1 trillion. that is not your biggest bang for the buck. i would make sure employees have access to jobs in their communities so they can continue to thrive as a community. that's where i would put investment into real job training and i would invest in national public service.
i would tell every young person in this country who would like debt-free college, if you're willing to do a year of public service, we can pay for two years of community service. you're willing to to do two years of public service, you can have four years of community college or state school paid for. that would change our country and our character overnight. if you want an anecdote to president trump's greed and corruption and selfishness, fear, smallness, the best thing to do is ask young people spend a year helping others first. it would be the greatest anecdote to this division, fear and hate president trump has created. >> you have been traveling around the country talking about abortion rights. what would you do to intervene in some of these states making new abortion laws? >> i would only appoint judges
and justices that see roev. wade as the law of the land. women have had a constitutional right to privacy for over 40 years. i just want judges that will say this is law and precedent. president trump when he was a justices he found 20 he knew would overturn it. i will repeal the hyde amendment which is the federal law that prohibits federal money from spending on reproductive care including abortion services, that really hard low income women, hard, communities of color. an economic issue as well as a healthcare issue as well as a human right. i will repeal that and fourth, i will make sure as we pass medicare for all that
reproductive healthcare services including abortion services are included so no matter what state you live in you have coverage and have access, no matter what, no matter how bad your governor is, now matter how bad your legislature is, you will have these basic reproduction rights. >> what about critics of a litmus test on judiciary nominees? >> it is not about independence. it is about a human right. with 40 years of this established precedent, it would be shocking if women no longer had bodily autonomy. it would be shocking that we could not have basic reproductive rights and i think having any other standard is a denial of what the law of the land has been for over 40 years. >> if the decision in hong kong deteriorates, what should the
u.s. do, especially if there is some kind of military force used by the chinese? you studied in hong kong. >> yes. i'm going to say something in chinese. that's too cheeky. the people of hong kong have lived under a different legal framework for a long time and the agreements that were made with the u.k. during the changeover were specific. they never imagined that they could be extradited to mainland beholden tove to be the laws of mainland china. they never imagined that they would have no free speech rights. they never imagined they would be denied basic constitutional freedoms like the rights to protest but that is actually what's happening in hong kong today. they are rightfully protesting.
we as americans who believe in these basic human rights should be supporting them. this president has been unable to stand up to strong men all across the globe. unwilling to stand up to china or russia. >> what should she do with exin ping? >> he should say if you wan -- jinping? >> he should say if you want to have an america engage with you, you should not cross this line. that is the power of the american government. you can have not only the bully pulpit. he can be engageing with the e.u. and our allies across asia to have a united front to say this violation of basic human rights should not stand and we expect more of you if you intend to be part of world's community. it is called reverence. it is pressure. it is what we used to do in worrell. we used to hold our friends and
allies accountable when they were wrong. >> if the chinese use military force should the u.s. consider sanctions? >> absolutely. sanctions is the kind of tool that we have in our toolbox to pressure another country when we feel they are doing the wrong things. president trump won't use it against russia or the saudis and won't even have an honest conversation with the prime minister of israel. that is wrong. she should be a better leader and should not be shrinking away from his responsibilities on the world stage. we have a couple of minutes left, politics lightning round. indulge me for a minute. define your relationship with he clintons. i think hillary is one of the greatest roleles we have for women. without her, you would not have
six women running for president today. i still consider hillary a great role model and maintainor and friend. i value the clintons in terms of what they have done. >> president clinton? >> same. he has given of himself and provided leadership. >> is it time for mayor de blasio to go back to the big apple? >> mayor de blasio also has done extraordinary things for our country, especially for new york city. he has led on making sure we have universal pre-k. led on a $15 minimum wage. i'm grateful to his service to our state and city. >> congress kennedy is mulling a primary against senator markey. do you support senator markey's re-election? >> god bless them both. i will likely support my colleague but i think it is
premature. >> if you were not the nominee, would you be open to serving on the ticket? >> of course. i'm open to public service of all forms. i'm here because my faith has really inspired me to serve, to make public service my life's mission and if i'm called to serve in any capacity, i will do it. >> are you confident in the new defense secretary on sexual assault in the military issues? >> no. >> final thing. you called on representative steve king to resign. >> as he should. [applause] >> over incendiary comments he made on abortion. what is your response to congressman king and his taunt? >> i think he should resign. his statements are jut rages. can we read his statements for the group? it is so outrageous.
>> i think that is why i didn't printette out. >> he should resign. >> should republicans force him to resign? >> yes, they should have a backbone and stand up to someone in their own party who has said something so harmful and demeaning to women that he should be forced to resign by his party but again we have not seen courage or strength out of republicans since president trump was elected. they don't stand up to him or people in their party and democrats should be proud of who we are that we value women and stand with women and that they are fund plinl part of the heart and soul of our party. >> senator gillibrand. we appreciate the time you have taken to be with us at "washington post" live. thank you. we appreciate it. >> thank you, everybody. [applause]