Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said Tuesday she’s “ashamed” of some of her previous stances on immigration, but insisted she recognized some of her views “really did need to change” once she became a senator in 2009.
“When I was a member of Congress from upstate New York, I was really focused on the priorities of my district,” the New York Democrat and presidential candidate said during a CNN town hall. “When I became senator of the entire state, I recognized that some of my views really did need to change. They were not thoughtful enough and didn’t care enough about people outside of the original upstate New York district that I represented. So, I learned.”
Gillibrand entered national politics when she won a House seat in a largely Republican district near Albany, New York in 2006, and at that time she called securing the border a “national security priority,” advocated blocking some benefits for undocumented immigrants, and called for establishing English as an official language.
She said her changing stance shows strength, not weakness.
“For people who aspire to be president, I think it’s really important that you’re able to admit when you’re wrong and that you’re able to grow and learn and listen and be better, and be stronger,” Gillibrand said.
“That is something that Donald Trump is unwilling to do,” the senator added. “He’s actually incapable of it. And I think it’s one of the reasons why he is such a cowardly president.”
She also pointed out that she’s made comprehensive immigration reform a key priority while in the Senate, and she plans to continue to fight to reunite families who have been separated at the border.
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