This past weekend, during Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s first big Sunday show interview since she announced she is running for president in 2020, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked her a fairly straightforward question: “If Trump’s immigration positions are racist, were they racist when you held some of those positions as well?”
After a pause, she told Tapper, “They certainly weren’t empathetic, and they weren’t kind, and I did not think about suffering in other people’s lives.” Sen. Gillibrand explained that she only discovered how “wrong” she was about the issue after visiting Brooklyn and learning from Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.
“Damn, Jake Tapper got her on that one,” Trevor Noah said Tuesday night during a Daily Show segment about the various apologies that have launched the early Democratic presidential campaigns this month. “It’s hard for her to say Trump’s policies are racist, but her identical policies were just unkind.”
“But to be fair, I get why Gillibrand had to say, ‘I went to Brooklyn and I saw things in a different way,’” he added. “Because let’s be honest, if she had said, ‘Yeah, my policies used to be racist and then they changed,’ you know the headlines would just be, ‘Gillibrand Admits Racism!’”
Noah predicted that Trump would “never let that go,” making it her new nickname. The host imagined the president ranting, “My opponent, Ku Klux Kirsten, is so racist she’s trying to steal the nomination from Native Americans like Elizabeth Warren.”
He went on to point out that this is “not the first time” Gillibrand has been forced to apologize for her past positions, noting that last year she addressed her previous pro-gun stance by telling a similar story about traveling to Brooklyn and changing her mind.
“OK, what’s going on in Brooklyn?” Noah asked. “Every time Gillibrand goes to Brooklyn, she changes another position.” From there, he rapped an updated version of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind”:
“Now I’m out in Brooklyn / Changed my mind on gun rights / Used to hate illegals / Now I fight the good fight… In New York, turns out all my past views were racist, it’s something I’m changin’.”