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Gillibrand In first Trip To Iowa: Trump Is 'Corrupting The Soul Of This Country'

Clay Masters/IPR
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks at the third Iowa Women's March. 1/19/2019

New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made her first trip to Iowa after announcing she’s considering a run for president in 2020, which included a speech at the state’s Women’s March. Bitter cold temperatures and an overnight snow storm moved Iowa’s Women’s March indoors at the state Capitol.

Sen. Gillibrand told those gathered that President Trump has inspired a lot of hate and division.

“It’s corrupting the soul of this country,” Gillibrand told those gathered in the Iowa Capitol rotunda. “Together we can defeat hate. Together we can bring this country back together again.”

This was the third year for the Women’s March and the crowd size was considerably smaller than in past years. Sen. Gillibrand talked with one of Iowa’s newly elected members of Congress, Rep. Cindy Axne. Axne told the crowd she hadn’t missed a Women’s March yet. She also told the crowd that while Washington is dysfunctional, the U.S. House looks a lot different.

“I see more women, I see more women of color, I see more women and men from our LGBTQ community,” Axne said to the crowd. “We are truly representative of the people that live not only in our districts and in our states but across the country.”

Axne said that gives her hope.

Des Moines realtor Rose Green, who came to the march with her daughters, says she teared up when Rep.  Axne took the stage.

“She’s results,” Green says. “She is what everyone was here, after the 2016 election, looking for.”

Green got a chance to speak with Sen. Gillibrand after the event and says it’s too early to say whether or not she would support her in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, which will be held February 3, 2020. Green says public education is one of the most important issues to her as a voter.

After the march, Sen. Gillibrand made a few stops in Des Moines’s East Village and concluded her trip to Iowa with a stop at Peace Tree Brewing where she answered questions about immigration and climate change.

“The denial of facts, the denial of science,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “Will harm our children and our grandchildren.”

Sen. Gillibrand says Congress passed funding bills every time there is a major disaster for people to help rebuild their communities.

“There is not enough money in the world to make people whole because of what global change does,” Gillibrand says. “We have to lead on this issue.”

Sen. Gillibrand started her trip in Iowa’s 4th District, represented by Republican Rep. Steve King. She told reporters Rep. King should resign for comments he made about white supremacy and white nationalism in the New York Times last week.

The New York Senator made campaign stops in Sioux City, Boone and Ames, in addition to Des Moines. She postponed a stop in eastern Iowa because of winter weather.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.