Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) says she's "ashamed" to have once held more conservative positions on things like immigration and the Second Amendment, and blames her backwards, ignorant former constituency, outside of the much-more-cosmopolitan New York City, for forcing her to adopt ideas which are opposed to a more civilized world.
Speaking to "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Gillibrand tried to explain why she was once supportive of gun rights by saying that while representing upstate New York, she had to make her moderate hunter base happy, reports the Washington Free Beacon.
"After I got appointed, I went down to Brooklyn to meet with families who had suffered from gun violence in their communities," she told host Sharyn Alfonsi. "And you immediately experience the feeling that I couldn't have been more wrong. I only had the lens of upstate New York."
Strangely enough, Gillibrand had actually lived in New York City — just a stone's throw from the endemic gun violence of Brooklyn — for nearly a decade before moving up state. But it was only when her eyes were opened to the real world — and to the hold the NRA had on her voting hand — that she dropped her support for gun rights.
"I know, and that's why I was embarrassed," Gillibrand said. "I was wrong. What it's about is the power of the NRA and the greed of that industry. Let's be clear, it is not about hunters' rights. It's about money."
But that's not all.
Gillibrand once supported a more restrictive immigration policy (she now supports something akin to blanket amnesty), and she explains that away by insinuating that her majority-white congressional district was basically racist and she had to give them what they wanted.
"Can you understand President Trump's position on immigration since you were there?" Alfonisi asked Gillibrand.
"No, I think his positions are racist," Gillibrand responded.
When pressed further on why her immigration views were once very Trumpian indeed, Gillibrand explained that she was merely representing her constituency, and that, shut off from all media communication in the wilds of upstate New York, where television and print journalism are utterly inaccessible, she simply didn't know there was another side ot the issue.
"I came from a district that was 98% white. We have immigrants, but not a lot of immigrants," she claimed. "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."
When asked why she never sought out the stories, Gillibrand finally admitted that she simply couldn't defend the people she used to represent.
"It was something that I'm embarrassed about and I'm ashamed of," she said.
Gillibrand has, of course, been working hard to raise her profile ahead of a potential 2020 presidential campaign, even going so far as to tell Democratic audiences that she might hold hearings on President Donald Trump's extramarital affairs and past alleged sexual misconduct. Most recently, she appeared to suggest that Trump should either resign or be faced with articles of impeachment, though she has yet to specify which high crime or misdemeanor the president has committed while in office.
This suggestion — that a mostly Democratic constituency that voted her into office is somehow racist and backwards — isn't likely to win Gillibrand many friends among the very people she has to convince: rust belt, blue-collar Democrats who voted for Donald Trump's populist economics and who swung key states towards the Republican competitor in the 2016 presidential election.