Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand in Concord, New Hampshire, the US, February 15 2019. Picture: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER
Democratic 2020 US presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand in Concord, New Hampshire, the US, February 15 2019. Picture: REUTERS/BRIAN SNYDER

Washington — New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand has announced she will seek the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential election, taking aim at Donald Trump as she formally joined the crowded field of challengers.

In a video released on Sunday, she said the national anthem posed the question: “Will brave win?”

“Well, it hasn’t always, and it isn’t right now," she said. "Brave doesn’t pit people against each other. Brave doesn’t put money over lives. Brave doesn’t spread hate. Cloud truth. Build a wall. That’s what fear does.”

The announcement was widely expected after the 52-year-old champion of women's rights told TV host Stephen Colbert in January she would be forming an exploratory committee.

In an election cycle in which Democratic candidates are tilting heavily to the left, Gillibrand touted her vote against the Wall Street bailouts supported by both major parties, pledged to work for universal health care, and pass the so-called Green New Deal, an economic stimulus programme aimed at tackling climate change.

Gillibrand joins more than a dozen Democrats already in the race, including Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker in addition to independent Bernie Sanders, who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

She has distinguished herself in key ways, raising her national profile by sponsoring — and mounting a three-year campaign for — a bill that would revamp how sexual assaults in the military are prosecuted by removing them from the chain of command. The bill fell short in the Senate, but Gillibrand has been relentless about highlighting sexual assault in the military, on college campuses and in the workplace.

She is also one of the top Trump naysayers in the Senate, voting against the president's nominees for major posts more than almost any other senator.

AFP