“We need a leader who makes big, bold, brave choices. Someone who isn’t afraid of progress. That’s why I’m running for president. And it’s why I’m asking you for your support,” the New York Democrat says in a video announcing the official launch of her campaign.
The move comes two months after Gillibrand set up a presidential exploratory committee -- which allowed her to raise money and build a campaign structure -- and began introducing herself to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – three of the four states that kick off the primary and caucus calendar - as well as California and Texas, which hold contests immediately after the early voting states.
In her video – titled "Brave Wins" – the senator uses "The Star-Spangled Banner" to say that bravery has been a constant choice in the nation’s history, and so many Americans have chosen to be brave.
Gillibrand also takes aim at President Trump, claiming the Republican has promoted an “agenda of cowardice, hate and fear.”
“Brave doesn’t pit people against each other. Brave doesn’t put money over lives. Brave doesn’t spread hate. Cloud truth.
"Build a wall. That’s what fear does,” she charges in the video.
Gillibrand says that if America could land astronauts on the moon, “we can definitely achieve universal health care. We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics and take back our democracy.”
Her announcement comes one day after Gillibrand wrapped up her third trip this year to New Hampshire, which holds the first primary in the race for the White House.
On Monday, Gillibrand heads to Michigan to join Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for a public event with a local women’s group, Fems for Dems. She’ll also hold a town hall. On Tuesday, Gillibrand heads to Iowa – which votes first in the presidential nominating calendar -- and later in the week makes a trip to Nevada, which is the first western state to vote.
Next Sunday, Gillibrand plans to give a speech outside the Trump International Hotel in New York City.
With her declaration, Gillibrand becomes the 14th major Democrat to officially launch a presidential campaign. She joins fellow Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state, former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, former San Antonio mayor and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas have also declared their candidacies. So have Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson of California and entrepreneur Andrew Yang of New York.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has launched a presidential exploratory committee.
The 52-year-old Gillibrand, who served in the House before her current tenure in the Senate, is known for spearheading efforts in the fight against sexual harassment and assault, and has become a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement. In her video, she touted taking “on the Pentagon to end sexual assault in the military.”
But a sexual harassment issue in Gillibrand’s own Senate office is now making headlines, with the reporting that a female aide in her mid-20s who was working in Gillibrand’s office resigned in protest last summer as she criticized the office’s handling of her sexual harassment complaint against a senior male adviser to the senator. That male adviser was recently terminated.