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Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a rally in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower on March 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a rally in front of Trump International Hotel & Tower on March 24, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Brilliant

He’s a ‘coward’: How Kirsten Gillibrand is turning Trump’s wrath into a campaign strategy

By WITW Staff on March 25, 2019

A week after officially launching her 2020 presidential campaign, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appeared outside the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan to rail against Donald Trump for “tearing apart the moral fabric of our country.”

“Look up at that tower — a shrine to greed, division, and vanity,” Gillibrand said, gesturing at the Trump Hotel. “And now look around you. The greater strength, by far, is ours.”

Trump, she continued, was a “coward” who “puts his name in bold on every building … because he wants you to believe he is strong. He is not.”

Gillibrand’s speech pulled no punches in its direct and cutting critiques of the president, and suggested the kind of confrontational, no-holds-barred approach she might take when engaging with Trump. Such a strategy will almost certainly provoke a virulent response from Trump, whose belittling nicknames and late-night tweet storms have been known to rattle some of his rivals.

But prompting Trump to counterattack may be precisely Gillibrand’s strategy. According to political analysts, her denunciation of Trump outside his own gilded hotel was intended not only to tout the senator’s record of opposing his policies, but to bait an angry response from the notoriously thin-skinned president.

Dan Sena, former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, suggested that a counter-response from Trump could help Gillibrand build grassroots support among Democrats. This strategy, he added, could raise the senator’s profile on a national scale amid a crowded field of presidential hopefuls jockeying for position ahead of the Democratic primary.

“Getting Trump to say something, to tweet something, you can begin to see what a general election match up looks like and moves [Gillibrand] in the electorate and raises a ton of support and money,” Sena explained.

“Frankly,” added Patti Solis Doyle, the campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, “getting the president’s attention usually goes viral.”

Read the full story at Politico.

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