CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – On her first full day of campaigning since announcing a run for president, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren suggested her 2020 Republican opponent may not be President Donald Trump.
“When we get to 2020 – Donald Trump may not even be president. In fact, he may not even be a free person,” she said in her first eastern Iowa stop of the day.
It marked the first time Warren has targeted the president directly while at an event in the early caucus state. During a multi-day tour earlier this year, Warren hardly talked about Trump at all – and she even avoided mentioning his name.
Despite taking an early direct jab at the president on Sunday, Warren said Trump is the symptom of a bigger problem. She quickly transitioned into talking about her values – something she later told the Des Moines Register will be the focus of her campaign.
“As we go forward in this campaign, is it going to be chasing every tweet and nasty statement from Donald Trump, or are we going to talk about what’s broken in our country and what are our plans to fix it? I want to talk about what’s going wrong and how we set it right,” she said in an interview with the Register.
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She stopped short of calling for Trump’s impeachment, however.
In Cedar Rapids, where the senator opened the event to questions, a woman asked if Warren supports impeaching the president.
Warren, calling it a “fair and reasonable question,” said she will let special counsel Robert Mueller finish his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election before deciding. On the one hand, she said, the investigation is almost finished, and on the other, a completed investigation will let Congress – and the public – see all available evidence before it’s taken to a vote.
“If we go down that path, we’re going to need to help pull this country together and have as many people as possible understand that it was a legitimate process based on facts that came from an independent investigation,” Warren said. She added that Congress must “absolutely insist” that Mueller’s full report be made public.
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formally announced her bid on Saturday in Lawrence, Massachusetts, before embarking on a seven-state tour. She scheduled Iowa stops Sunday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Davenport.
“I am delighted to be in Iowa because it’s a chance to be face-to-face, person-to-person with deeply engaged people,” she told the Register. “Every event that I’ve done here has been around issues that matter to the whole country. People in Iowa have asked hard, interesting, engaged questions.
“I’m going to be here as often as I can.”
As she had before, Warren spoke in Iowa of her upbringing, her fight to make America work not just for the rich and powerful, and her efforts to take corruption out of politics by ending lobbying and requiring tax return disclosures by all candidate for federal office.
In Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa, she opened by proposing debt-free college for all and reducing the burden of student loan debt on existing borrowers.
She spoke of the $50-a-semester college she attended to become a teacher. It was that affordable education that pushed her into the middle class, unlike many young people today whose debt is “crushing their dreams,” she said.
But student loan debt isn’t the only thing hurting Americans today, she said, listing off the increased costs of housing, health insurance and child care, despite stagnant wages.
“I’m not somebody who picked up this issue because it polled well,” she told the Register. “This is what I’ve been working on for my whole life. It’s been about documenting the hollowing out of America’s middle class. It’s about how people work harder than ever but the path is getting rockier – and even rockier for people of color.
“That’s been my life’s research.”
Despite being one of the first to announce an exploratory committee for president, Warren already faces high-profile opponents contending for their party’s nomination. She announced on New Year’s Eve she was exploring a run, but didn’t formalize the campaign until this weekend.
Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker recently announced their bids and have been in Iowa. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her bid Sunday. Klobuchar will visit Iowa later this month.
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