Chelsea Manning — formerly Bradley Manning who, in 2013, was convicted of the biggest leak of classified documents in U.S. history — has produced a campaign ad challenging Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) for his Senate seat.
In the ad, Manning chides Democrats for siding with President Donald Trump by reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Last week, the House voted 256-164 to reauthorize the act, with 191 Republicans and 65 Democrats voting in favor, and 119 Democrats and 45 Republicans voting against it.
“The same Democrats who denounce Donald Trump as a lawless, treasonous authoritarian just voted to give him vast warrantless spying power,” the ad states.
Manning, who began to identify as a woman during six years of incarceration, had a 35-year prison sentence commuted by President Barack Obama before he left the Oval Office.
The ad shows Manning, dressed in all black, walking in an urban setting. Images of violent clashes between protesters and police and what appears to be the rally last year in Charlottesville, West Virginia, play throughout the ad as Manning speaks.
The ad also has footage of President Donald Trump meeting with members of Congress at the White House.
The one-minute, 11-second ad states:
We live in trying times — times of fear, of suppression, hate. We don’t need more or better leaders. We need someone willing to fight. We need to stop asking them to give us our rights. They won’t support us. They won’t compromise. We need to stop expecting that our systems will somehow fix themselves.
We actually need to take the reins of power from them. We need to challenge them at every level. We need to fix this. We don’t need them anymore.
We can do better. You’re damn right we got this.
Breitbart News reported last year that Harvard University hired Manning as a visiting fellow at their Institute of Politics.
In the announcement on the Harvard website, Manning is described as “a Washington D.C. based network security expert and former U.S. Army intelligence analyst.”
After Obama commuted his sentence, Manning’s focus shifted to queer and transgender rights activism.
Newsweek reported that even as a convicted felon who cannot vote, Manning can run for Congress: “Her decision to run for Senate comes despite her criminal record, which is no barrier to running for Congress in the U.S. Indeed, the only qualifications to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland are that candidates must be at least 30-years-old, have citizenship in the U.S for at least nine years, and live in the state at the time of the election.”