Kirsten Gillibrand to Washington: We Need to Help People or 'Go the F--k Home'

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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in her office in Washington, D.C. Alessandra Petlin for Newsweek

Democrats have been desperately seeking a voice at once principled and ferocious enough to compel voters in the 2020 presidential election. They may have found one in New York's junior United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, though she will have to tone down her cursing before heading to Iowa.

A speech Gillibrand gave at New York University on Friday at the Personal Democracy Forum was less remarkable for its contents than for its delivery, which was laced with profanity directed at President Donald Trump in particular and Capitol Hill in general. For example, her assessment of whether Trump had honored promises made on the campaign trail was a pithy two-word response: "Fuck no."

"Sorry," Gillibrand said after this, apparently her first F-bomb, according to a report on Mediate based on tweets from reporters present at the NYU speech, as well as video of the event. "I understand this is a younger audience, it's OK." 

Gillibrand was plainly frustrated that Republicans were seemingly winning the war for middle-class voters. "Even though we as Democrats are on the right side of almost all issues, many hardworking families just haven't felt that we've been fighting for them." The second use of the F-word came right thereafter: "Fundamentally, if we are not helping people, we should go the fuck home."

That language was reprised from a profile of Gillibrand that appeared earlier this spring in New York magazine, when she told writer Rebecca Traister, "If we’re not helping people, we should go the fuck home.”

She later apologized again when discussing "covfeve," the mystifying word Trump invented on Twitter last week. Gillibrand posited that he was "bitching about" media "coverage" and simply forgot to finish his tweet. In response, the moderator pointed out that his 90-year-old mother was sitting in the front row of the audience.

"You just got me in trouble," Gillibrand joked.