When I asked whether it was problematic to have so many white men—O’Rourke, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg—soaking up the media spotlight, she replied, “Yeah, I think it’s problematic. …. We have amazing women candidates, amazing candidates of color, and hopefully through this process we will lift our voices up and be heard.”
The look on her face when I mentioned Beto O’Rourke’s appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair was beyond description. “Unusual,” she finally mustered, biting her lip and her tongue at once, a litany of curse words no doubt suppressed underneath her smirk. “Never seen it before.”
And when I asked Gillibrand to name the worst part of running for president, she replied, “I don’t want to tell you.” She added that “it’s not an appropriate thing for me to say,” then promised to tell me later, off the record.
After hearing the off-the-record answer, I pressed for a sanitized version, which she offered in the most measured of tones. “The one thing that’s annoying to me is how many times reporters ask you about our male colleagues. Who cares? I’m running for president. I want to tell you what my vision is, why I’m running, and why I’m going to win,” she said. “I think reporters like yourself, who are super smart and super careful, will always ask me what I think about the male colleagues. Are you asking the male colleagues what they think about us? Probably not.”