Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., went all out to to celebrate the start of Pride Month. But, fairly or not, her efforts have been reduced to a single seven-second-long video.
The clip, posted to the candidate’s Instagram account Saturday, shows her celebrating at a gay bar in Des Moines Iowa. She visited the Blazing Saddle on Friday with reporters in tow, serving drinks and fielding questions about her LGBT policies.
In the video, Gillibrand is seen wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the rainbow-colored words “Love is Brave” and swaying to thumping background music as she sips what was reportedly “straight whiskey.”
Suddenly, she shouts, “Gay rights! Loud and Proud!” and executes a kind of awkward salute.
Someone, apparently a Gillibrand campaign staffer, selected a flashing rainbow heart to adorn the clip.
On Sunday morning, the Twitter account “2020 behind the scenes” shared Gillibrand’s video, and it quickly went viral, accumulating over 1.2 million views.
In the days prior, Gillibrand had received some positive coverage of her stop in Des Moines, which kicked-off a three day campaign swing through the state. Besides bartending gig, she went shopping for Pride gear with Chasten Buttigieg, the spouse of her campaign rival Pete Buttigieg.
— Kathie Obradovich (@KObradovich) June 8, 2019
Kirsten Gillibrand fails to show gay pride
However, Twitter’s response to her Instagram performance was almost overwhelming right-wing mockery. Washington, D.C. business consultant Jeff Giesea tweeted: “Gillibrand is running as the annoying straight woman at a gay bar.”
Gillibrand is running as the annoying straight woman at a gay bar https://t.co/hwd7eRBSOB
— Jeff Giesea🌿 (@jeffgiesea) June 8, 2019
Campus Reform media director Cabot Phillips was among those who judged Gillibrand even more pandering than the rest of the Democratic field, or the party’s famously uncharismatic 2016 contender Hillary Clinton.
America: Nobody will ever pander worse than Hillary Clinton
Kirsten Gillibrand: Hold my pride shirt, shot glass, and belt buckle https://t.co/4wlxvkOlXi
— Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) June 8, 2019
Commentator Kat Timpf reminded her followers that Gillibrand’s campaign chose this clip on purpose.
Keep in mind they probably took at least 37 takes of this. And this was the best one. https://t.co/UZlyYB65Kk
— Kat Timpf (@KatTimpf) June 8, 2019
The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra sarcastically called Gillibrand’s Pride cheer a “Totally non-scripted moment.”
Totally non-scripted moment here from Democrat presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand pic.twitter.com/8nzxV40zXM
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 8, 2019
The Red State blog deemed it “the single most awkward moment in political history,” adding: “The cringe literally burns.”
Kirsten Gillibrand Produces the Single Most Awkward Moment in Political History
— RedState (@RedState) June 9, 2019
Meanwhile, some of the left were no less brutal.
Feminist writer Zoé Samudzi started a thread about Gillibrand’s alleged inauthenticity that saw one LGBT rights advocate comment: “I had to suppress the tweet bc the wobbling movement shes doing is giving me motion sickness.”
Jennifer Lawrence walked so Kirsten Gillibrand could run https://t.co/ixs2WznlRB
— inorganic african feminist (@ztsamudzi) June 9, 2019
This was supposed to be the easy part
Since being appointed to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat in 2009, Gillibrand has abandoned many of the more conservative views she held as a congresswoman for upstate New York, including on gun rights and immigration. However, she has actually been an advocate of LGBT rights since before it was cool.
Gillibrand has played to that strength in her campaign. Her stop in Iowa came days after she released a sweeping agenda on the subject, which calls for codifying marriage equality, banning “conversion therapy” and rescinding the Trump administration’s policy banning transgender people from serving in the military.
“The LGBTQ community is not a monolith with a finite set of needs, and equal rights and freedom from discrimination should be the bare minimum we accept,” she wrote in a Medium post Friday outlining her plan.
“As president, I will do more than defend LGBTQ rights — I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ community in the fight for equality,” she added. “We’re in this together, because LGBTQ rights are human rights.”
Still, as critics of her Pride performance noted, Gillibrand has so far remained relatively unknown and unliked by Democratic voters.