War­ren takes on Trump, says he may not be 'free' in 2020

El Dorado News-Times - - News -

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Back in Iowa as a fullfledged pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Demo­crat Eliz­a­beth War­ren took aim at Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Sun­day, say­ing he "may not even be a free per­son" by next year's elec­tion.

The Mas­sachusetts sen­a­tor also urged fel­low can­di­dates to avoid let­ting Trump de­fine the con­tours of the elec­tion with his per­sonal and provoca­tive at­tacks.

"Ev­ery day there is a racist tweet, a hate­ful tweet — some­thing re­ally dark and ugly," War­ren said as she opened an event in Cedar Rapids. "What are we as can­di­dates, as ac­tivists, as the press, go­ing to do about it? We're go­ing to chase af­ter those ev­ery day?"

War­ren has been a fre­quent Trump tar­get. Hours af­ter she for­mally kicked off her cam­paign on Sat­ur­day, the pres­i­dent re­newed his crit­i­cism of her past claims of Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage. In a tweet, Trump called War­ren "Poc­a­hon­tas" and said he would see her "on the cam­paign TRAIL."

The White House didn't ex­plain what the pres­i­dent was re­fer­ring to in his tweet, though some Democrats ac­cused him of mak­ing light of the Trail of Tears — the forced re­moval of Chero­kee and sev­eral other Na­tive Amer­i­can tribes from their lands in the 1830s. War­ren's cam­paign wouldn't say what the sen­a­tor be­lieves Trump was ref­er­enc­ing.

War­ren emerged as one of the Demo­cratic Party's fiercest and most ef­fec­tive Trump crit­ics dur­ing the 2016 elec­tion, cam­paign­ing vig­or­ously for Hil­lary Clin­ton. But she's largely avoided talk­ing about Trump since she be­gan test­ing the wa­ters for a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign more than a month ago, hew­ing more closely to the pop­ulist eco­nomic mes­sage that has long made her a fa­vorite of lib­er­als.

That shift made her sharp, though brief, shot at Trump on Sun­day all the more no­table.

"By the time we get to 2020, Don­ald Trump may not even be pres­i­dent. In fact, he may not even be a free per­son," she said.

War­ren told re­porters her com­ments were a ref­er­ence to the mul­ti­ple in­ves­ti­ga­tions that have shad­owed Trump's pres­i­dency. Asked if she sup­ported im­peach­ing Trump, War­ren was non­com­mit­tal, say­ing only that spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller needs to be al­lowed to fin­ish his in­ves­ti­ga­tion and make his re­port pub­lic.

"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 it was a le­git­i­mate process based on facts," she said.

Trump has not been charged with any crimes, but sev­eral of his former ad­vis­ers have pleaded guilty to a va­ri­ety of charges.

The pres­i­dent's abil­ity to cre­ate con­tro­ver­sies and drive de­bate poses a chal­lenge for War­ren and other Democrats. While Democrats are ea­ger for can­di­dates to show they can han­dle Trump's ag­gres­sion, they also risk over­shad­ow­ing their own vi­sions for the coun­try if they re­spond to ev­ery at­tack or provo­ca­tion.

War­ren's cam­paign launch has been shad­owed by the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing her past claims to Na­tive Amer­i­can her­itage. She's apol­o­gized for claim­ing Na­tive Amer­i­can iden­tity on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions early in her ca­reer.

Trump has fre­quently taken digs at the sen­a­tor by call­ing her Poc­a­hon­tas, a ref­er­ence to the na­tive woman who lived in present-day Vir­ginia in the 1600s and agreed to marry an English colonist to help en­sure peace and pro­tect her peo­ple.

Vot­ers in Cedar Rapids did not ask War­ren about the con­tro­versy dur­ing a ques­tio­nand-an­swer ses­sion, fo­cus­ing in­stead on her stances on is­sues in­clud­ing tar­iffs and stu­dent loan debt.

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