2020 presidential hopefuls condemn Trump at the largest candidate gathering yet

19 Democratic presidential-nomination candidates attended the Hall of Fame Celebration in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, where many of them rallied around unseating President Donald Trump.


Roman Slabach

2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks at Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, June 9, 2019. 19 democrats spoke at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Reporter

Democratic presidential-nomination candidates are condemning the policies and rhetoric of President Donald Trump and the Republicans in U.S. Congress at the largest gathering of candidates so far this election season.

Senator and presidential-nomination candidate Cory Booker, D-NJ, was the first candidate to speak at the Hall of Fame Celebration in Cedar Rapids, saying he is running for president to unseat Trump, but that simply beating Trump will not be enough in restoring progressive politics.

“We must have bigger aspirations and bolder dreams than just that,” Booker said. “Beating Donald Trump is the floor – it is not the ceiling.”

The Hall of Fame Celebration, at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party, featured 19 Democratic candidates, where they each spoke for five minutes. The event also honored the grassroots work of Democrats across Iowa and Iowa Congresswomen Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenuaer.

Prior to the event, hundreds of campaign supporters lined the streets, greeting their candidates as they entered the venue.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, advocated for women’s reproductive rights, saying that she has voted against Trump more than any other U.S. Senator. Gillibrand has voted against almost all of the Trump’s Cabinet nominees.

“President Trump’s kryptonite is a strong woman who stands up for what she believes in,” Gillibrand said. “When women lead, we get things done.”

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, using her experience as a prosecutor, said she will “prosecute” Trump for committing “fraud” against the public.

“[Trump] believed Russia over the word of the American people – that’s security fraud,” Harris said.

This comes at a time where candidates and members of Congress are calling for impeachment proceedings to begin in the U.S. House of Representatives in light of the report from lawyer Robert Mueller, who led the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller found evidence of “obstruction of justice” between the White House and Russian intelligence during the 2016 presidential election.

Some candidates – Sanders, Booker, Biden, Warren, and others – have told voters on the campaign trail in Iowa that they would support the beginning of impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, said Trump has divided Americans, and that energetic campaigns and increasing voter turnout will be crucial in beating him in 2020.

“The American people do not want a president who is a lair, a racist, a sexist… and someone who believes that he is above the law,” Sanders said. “Together we will put an end to the ugliness and the divisiveness that has come from [the Trump] administration.”

Michael Weissbluth, a Chicagoan, traveled to Iowa this weekend with a political-action organization, Wolf-PAC, which supports candidates who do not accept corporate donations.

Weissbluth said that while it is highly important to him that candidates publically speak out against Trump, him and his organization are looking to support candidates that are more policy-driven and go beyond publically attacking Trump.

Weissbluth said he thinks Trump will “bury himself” in legal trouble, pointing to Mueller’s report.

“Someone like (former Texas Rep.) Beto or (Indiana Mayor) Buttigieg is not really going to galvanize us,” Weissbluth said. “Really we’re looking for policy first.”  

Leslie Jones, an Iowa public school teacher, said she is set on supporting either Harris or Buttigieg, saying she likes Buttigieg’s overarching message of unity.

“Whenever we are talking about Trump, we are not talking about what voters need,” said Jones, adding that she likes the way Buttigieg makes the conversation about him and not constantly about Trump.

Other lesser-known candidates – former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, author Marianne Williamson, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang – used a portion of their 5 minute time slot to speak out against Trump.

The only Democratic candidates to not show up to the Hall of Fame Celebration were former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Seth Moulton, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro.


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