By JUANA SUMMERS (Associated Press)
NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is calling President Donald Trump a “coward” who “punches down” and says that he is “tearing apart the moral fabric of our country.”
Gillibrand is set to say even more about Trump on Sunday as she stands in front of one of his signature New York properties.
In what her campaign is calling Gillibrand’s first major speech as a presidential candidate, the New York senator says in prepared remarks that the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Manhattan is “a shrine to greed, division and vanity.” The Associated Press obtained the prepared remarks.
Gillibrand is trying to position herself in the crowded field of Democrats seeking the party’s nomination. While some hopefuls have shied away from mentioning Trump, Gillibrand has not hesitated to do so.
“He demonizes the vulnerable and he punches down. He puts his name in bold on every building,” Gillibrand says in the prepared remarks. “He does all of this because he wants you to believe he is strong. He is not. Our president is a coward.”
Gillibrand’s speech comes as the nation awaits the key findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which has loomed over Trump’s presidency. Attorney General William Barr is preparing to release the investigation’s “principal findings” to Congress on Sunday.
Gillibrand has said that Mueller’s report should be made public quickly and that, regardless of what the report says, it’s clear that Trump has undermined American democracy.
The speech in front of the Trump International Hotel & Tower appears to be a re-launch of Gillibrand’s campaign. She announced last January that she was exploring a run, then spent months traveling the country campaigning and raising money.
In her remarks for Sunday, Gillibrand praises the bravery of high school students organizing to end gun violence, young people brought to the country illegally as children who are fighting for “their right to call this country home,” and “of course, the formerly well-behaved women who organized, ran for office, voted and won in 2018.”
“That is brave,” she says.
Gillibrand also talks about her own courage, which she says is evidenced by her ability to win a House seat in a district seen as a Republican stronghold, by fighting for funds to cover the cost of medical care for rescue workers and survivors of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, and by fighting on behalf of survivors of sexual assault and harassment at the Pentagon, in Congress and on college campuses.