‘We got a big, long rap sheet to work with.’ Kamala Harris on taking on Donald Trump
Thirteen Democratic presidential candidates are speaking today in San Francisco at the Democratic National Committee summer meeting.
They include Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. Tim Ryan, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Rep. Joe Sestak, billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, spiritual leader Marianne Williamson, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and former venture capitalist Andrew Yang.
Follow along here for live updates:
2:43 p.m. Citing the ousting of Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Klobuchar insists Democrats are making progress winning in purple states. She says Trump “wakes up every morning and tries to divide us and parse us into haves and have-nots.”
2:35 p.m. Sanders pushes Medicare-for-All, a single-payer health care system. He also demands more money from wealthy people to fund his ambitious policy proposals.
“The time is now to address the crisis of income inequality and tell the 1 percent, ‘Yes, they will start paying a fair share of taxes.’”
He also calls Trump “racist,” saying his action embolden “bigots, xenophobes and white supremacists,” as the country grapples with domestic terrorism.
2:22 p.m. Harris takes to the stage and says the country is at an inflection point and in need of a prosecutor to go after Trump’s record
“It’s time to turn the page,” Harris said. “To do that, I believe we must have the ability to successfully prosecute the case against four more years of Donald Trump, and it’ll take a prosecutor to do that.”
She says the country must examine Trump’s “rap sheet,” which includes his treatment of kids through his family separation immigration policy.
She criticized his “Make America Great Again” 2016 slogan, accusing him of referencing a time that was not great for minorities. And she said he bears responsibility for the persistence of historical racism.
“He didn’t pull the trigger, but of course, he’s been tweeting out the ammunition,” Harris said.
2:10 p.m. Over loudspeaker, announcer incorrectly welcomes Bennet, who spoke earlier in the day. After 15 seconds of awkward silence, Booker dashes to the stage, lifts up DNC Chairman Tom Perez and rushes to the podium. “I am not Michael Bennet. I am Dwayne Johnson: The Rock.”
Booker begins speech by accusing Trump of engaging in “moral vandalism.”
1:27 p.m. Rev. William Barber gives a thunderous, 40-minute speech urging people to not turn against each other, but instead, “to each other.” DNC Chairman Tom Perez asks for two minutes of silence for audience to reflect on Barber’s speech, gets ready to introduce Booker.
11:48 a.m. Break in speeches, they’ll resume at 1 p.m.
11:46 a.m. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is on active duty in Indonesia. She provides video message speaking out against what she considers “regime change wars.” She calls them “wasteful.”
11:44 a.m. Buttigieg provides video message that looks more like a campaign aid. He is seen in video with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stumping for a controversial parcel tax.
11:35 a.m. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan reflects on shooting in Dayton and pushes for solutions to gun violence. He gets a standing ovation when shouting, “Mitch McConnell: Get off your ass and pass gun reform in the United States Senate!”
11:27 a.m. Moulton withdraws from race. “I want to use this opportunity, with all of you here, to announce that I am ending my campaign for president. Though this campaign is not ending the way we hoped, I am leaving this race knowing that we raised issues that are vitally important to the American people and our future.” He reiterated the need for addressing mental health issues for veterans who recently left the armed forces.
“I will be campaigning my ass off for whoever wins our nomination in 2020,” he adds.
11:18 a.m. Sestak is introduced. Audience murmurs, appearing to wonder who he is.
11:15 a.m. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke gives brief message encouraging DNC members to vote for him.
11:10 a.m. Castro lashes out at Trump over immigration policy. He calls for changes to the criminal justice system through “cash bail reform,” legalizing marijuana and hiring more public defenders. He says his first executive order as president will be to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
Castro gets boisterous applause when pushing for “a more effective, more humane” approach to immigration. He describes how his favorite moment on Inauguration Day would be seeing Trump leave the White House by helicopter.
“It’s customary for the incoming president to usher out the outgoing president. I can picture it. ... Right before he walks away, I’m gonna tell him, ‘Adios.’”
11:03 a.m. Biden gives a brief 2-minute video message. He is greeted by a small handful of boos for not showing up in person. “If we stand together, we will win the battle for the soul of this nation,” he says in video.
10:57 a.m. Bennett is the first to speak. He jokes, “It’s the first time in this race that I’ve been the frontrunner.” Bennett is not expected to qualify for the third presidential debate. He takes aim at Steyer and the DNC.
“The DNC process is stifling debate at a time we need it most,” Bennet says. “(The DNC is) letting billionaires buy their way onto the debate stage.”
10:49 a.m. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump “dishonors the Constitution and denigrates who we are as a people.” She calls Trump’s “welcoming” of Russian interference “a violation of the Constitution of the United States.”
Alluding to calls for impeachment, Pelosi says, “No one is above the law and we will hold everybody in our country accountable.”
She says beating Trump in 2020 will be “tough” because of the money he’s raised, but adds that Democrats have to win for a younger generation. “You have to be ready to throw a punch — for the children.”
10:25 a.m. DNC Chairman Tom Perez delivers opening remarks by focusing on common ground between all candidates who are about to speak. He says everyone who will approach the stage understands climate change, supports universal health care and wants universal background checks. He adds, “Everybody on this stage wants to send Mitch McConnell into retirement.”
His biggest applause line: “Every single one of them would make a far better president than the current occupant of the White House.”
9:15 a.m. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was spotted in the main lobby of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square Hotel. Asked who he’d support for president, he told me he’s limited his choices to five.
With Booker passing behind him, he turned and said Booker was a top consideration. He also said he’s considering throwing his support behind Harris, Castro former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“I could literally take almost any of those candidates and say they’re going to be superior,” Garcetti said. “As a Californian, I think its’ great to have people come here not just for money but to talk to us because our vote matters.”
He said the candidate who can best address poverty and homelessness, the environment, infrastructure and immigration will earn his support.
California is set to hold its primary on March 3, 2020.