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Westlake Legal Group > Sanders, Bernard

Joe Biden’s Poll Numbers Mask an Enthusiasm Challenge

PROLE, Iowa — Joseph R. Biden Jr. is coasting in the national polls. Surveys show him ahead of his Democratic rivals in hypothetical matchups against President Trump. He has maintained a lead in Iowa all summer, despite facing months of controversies over his record and his campaign missteps.

But less than two weeks before Labor Day, when presidential campaigns traditionally kick into high gear, there are signs of a disconnect between his relatively rosy poll numbers and excitement for his campaign on the ground here, in the state that begins the presidential nominating process.

In conversations with county chairs, party strategists and dozens of voters this week at Mr. Biden’s events, many Democrats in Iowa described a case for Mr. Biden, the former vice president, that reflected shades of the one his wife, Jill Biden, bluntly sketched out on Monday. “You may like another candidate better, but you have to look at who is going to win,” she said, citing Mr. Biden’s consistent lead in early surveys.

The first ad of Mr. Biden’s campaign, released this week in Iowa, flashed some of his positive poll results against Mr. Trump on screen, and voter after voter cited those numbers in outlining their support for him, saying that defeating the president was their most urgent priority.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 21biden-enthusiasm3-articleLarge Joe Biden’s Poll Numbers Mask an Enthusiasm Challenge Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

There are signs of an enthusiasm gap among Iowa voters. “He’s doing O.K., but I think a lot of his initial strength was name recognition,” one county chairwoman said.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

That stands in stark contrast to the way voters explain their support for candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who drew 12,000 people to an event this week in Minnesota, Iowa’s northern neighbor, or Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who also draws large crowds and maintains a core base of die-hard fans.

They and others trail Mr. Biden in most polls and face plenty of their own skeptics, but they also have followings rooted in zealous support for their ideas rather than the political calculus that many voters describe in assessing Mr. Biden.

The former vice president certainly has devoted fans, in Iowa and around the country, and continues to enjoy good will and respect from Democratic voters.

But the risks of a campaign argument that is heavily reliant on strong poll numbers, which can be fickle in a tumultuous election, were on vivid display throughout Mr. Biden’s trip to Iowa, as voters repeatedly emphasized that their support for him was closely linked to what they perceived as his strength against Mr. Trump.

It’s a case they make even as polls have shown several other candidates, namely Mr. Sanders, Ms. Warren and Senator Kamala Harris of California, running strongly against Mr. Trump, and as strategists caution that such theoretical matchups are hardly predictive of an election that’s more than a year away. The polls at this early stage are also partly a reflection of a candidate’s name recognition.

“If there would be a horse leading right now for me, it would probably be Biden, because all the polls indicate he would beat Trump handily,” said Rick Spellerberg, 57, as he waited to see Mr. Biden address a group of voters gathered in a gazebo in Prole, a small rural town, on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Spellerberg, of Prole, said that he was “still open” to other candidates and that he was planning to see former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas speak afterward.

Asked how Mr. Biden had been doing, Mr. Spellerberg replied, “He hasn’t been doing anything wrong, let’s put it that way.”

Later that day, Mr. Biden addressed another group gathered on a muggy lawn in front of a picturesque barn in Urbandale, as large flies zoomed overhead. Attendees frequently said that Mr. Biden was one of their top two or three choices — again, citing the polls.

“Basically whoever can beat Donald Trump, but I think Biden has the best chance,” said Cheryl Wheeler, 66, of Urbandale. “He’s in the lead, and a proven leader.”

She said she “probably would stick with Biden,” but noted, “I’ll go vote for whoever can do it.”

Samy El-Baroudi, 56, of Des Moines, called Ms. Warren “absolutely amazing, a brilliant woman, brings great ideas.” But Mr. Biden is his current first choice — followed by Ms. Warren and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Mr. Biden is “human, very electable, which is a major concern,” said Mr. El-Baroudi. “Very real and very sincere, he speaks from the heart. Sometimes that means you put your foot in your mouth. Isn’t that what they liked about Trump?”

A Monmouth University poll from this month showed Mr. Biden leading with the support of 28 percent of likely Iowa caucusgoers — virtually unchanged from the same poll’s results from April.

But Patrick Murray, the director of Monmouth’s Polling Institute, who recently spent time in Iowa, said those numbers did not give the full picture of Mr. Biden’s support in the state.

The Biden campaign points out that his lead in the polls has been durable, despite a summer of controversies.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

“I did not meet one Biden voter who was in any way, shape or form excited about voting for Biden,” Mr. Murray said. “They feel that they have to vote for Joe Biden as the centrist candidate, to keep somebody from the left who they feel is unelectable from getting the nomination.”

And JoAnn Hardy, the Democratic chairwoman of Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, where most of the Democratic candidates recently attended the gathering known as the Wing Ding dinner, attributed Mr. Biden’s lead in part to simply being well-known.

“He’s doing O.K., but I think a lot of his initial strength was name recognition,” she said. “As the voters get to meet the other candidates, he may be surpassed soon. I would not be surprised.”

Asked who was poised to do that, she replied: “Elizabeth Warren has the most incredible organization in this state. I could see it being Warren.”

Some of Mr. Biden’s allies view Ms. Warren as his most significant threat in Iowa for now, aware of the extensive organization she built early, her surge in the Monmouth poll and other polls here this summer, and her ability to connect with progressives who traditionally play an important role in the caucuses.

But representatives for the Biden campaign argued that several candidates have risen this summer, only to see their numbers fall back down to earth. His position as poll-leader has been steady up to this point, they stress, though his favorability rating has dipped since he re-entered the political arena, and his advantage has ebbed in some early-state polls.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 25bidenrunsHFO1-videoSixteenByNine3000 Joe Biden’s Poll Numbers Mask an Enthusiasm Challenge Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

Joseph R. Biden Jr. was a two-term vice president and spent 36 years as a senator. But his front-runner status in the Democratic primary will be tested by the party’s desire for generational change.CreditCreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times

“We reject the premise that the only reason Biden is doing well in the polls is because of name recognition,” said T.J. Ducklo, Mr. Biden’s national press secretary. “Voters have genuine affection for Joe Biden. They know him and his character, which is why their support for him has been so durable in the face of relentless attacks by all of his primary opponents.”

Yet there have also been self-inflicted controversies. His trip to Iowa earlier this month was marred by multiple gaffes, a dynamic that dominated coverage of the visit and gave some Democrats here pause.

On his visit this week, he was frequently flanked by teleprompters, though he often walked away from them. He misstated the dates of the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy in a passing remark, something the Republican National Committee seized on.

Still, there are plenty of voters who adore Mr. Biden, praising his experience and his empathy.

“Joe Biden is stability for me, stability and common sense,” Peggy Halterman, 65, of Martensdale, said, describing him as akin to “a member of the family.” She added, “I don’t care about his gaffes. It’s the person inside.”

An “Iowa 4 Biden” sign in Prole, Iowa. “If there would be a horse leading right now for me, it would probably be Biden,” one voter there said, stressing that he was “still open” to other candidates.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

After a slow organizational start, Mr. Biden’s campaign now appears to have the largest operation in the state, employing about 75 staff members there, both by its count and according to the outlet Iowa Starting Line, which tracks staff hires. The Warren campaign, which has been praised for its creative ground game, claims more than 65 staff members in Iowa.

“We plan to win here, and so that’s why we’ve got such a huge staff,” said Jake Braun, Mr. Biden’s Iowa state director, adding that around 60 of the staff members are devoted to field operations and that the number of volunteers has increased each week. There are 13 offices in the state so far, with plans to keep growing, he said. And Mr. Biden is regularly landing new endorsements in Iowa, including Michael Gronstal, the former majority leader of the State Senate, and several prominent Democrats who supported Mr. Sanders in 2016.

Like Dr. Biden and some of Mr. Biden’s supporters, Mr. Braun cited the polls when asked how Mr. Biden would maintain momentum as other candidates become better-known — and potentially viewed as more viable.

“We are doing better than everybody else in a lot of these key states we need to win,” he said, before going on to describe the coalition Mr. Biden is seeking to build, including outreach to independents, students, white working-class people and people of color.

Yet for all the talk about polls at Biden events, in his own ad and from his own team, Mr. Biden himself, who often insists that he’s more focused on the “marathon” of the campaign, struggled to discuss the issue this week, offering seemingly contradictory statements about how much attention should be paid to polling.

“I notice you didn’t ask me why I’m ahead in all the polls still,” he said in an exchange with a reporter on Tuesday. “I notice you didn’t ask me about how I feel about the new CNN poll. I notice you don’t ask me those things.”

Asked by another reporter if polls should be ignored, Mr. Biden replied, “You already do, so it’s O.K.”

But, he added, “These polls will go up and they will go down. I’ve got to come out here and I’ve got to earn the support of these people.”

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Westlake Legal Group merlin_158732421_f6f35d01-c4a2-41fa-937b-8ca6ddc084be-threeByTwoSmallAt2X Joe Biden’s Poll Numbers Mask an Enthusiasm Challenge Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party Biden, Joseph R Jr

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Why Bernie Sanders Stood Out at the Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES — Bernie Sanders examined the butter cow. He power-walked by the Ferris wheel. He gobbled a corn dog.

He spoke to almost no one.

Most presidential candidates use the 10-day Iowa State Fair to showcase their retail campaigning skills, because it is one of the best opportunities to meet a wide cross-section of voters before the caucuses in February. Mr. Sanders’s approach to the event on Sunday — stride briskly, wave occasionally, converse infrequently — underscored how he has grounded his campaign in championing ideas rather than establishing human connections.

His lectern-pounding, impersonal campaign style served him well during his first presidential run, especially here in Iowa, where his near-victory in the caucuses against Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State, transformed him into a threat for the Democratic nomination.

Yet even as his campaign seeks to project its strength in early primary states, there are signs — in Iowa polls, conversations with local officials and discussions with dozens of voters — suggesting that Mr. Sanders, 77, may be struggling to gain traction in the state that fueled his political rise.

[Which candidates have qualified for the September Democratic primary debates?]

It is a dynamic that was perhaps most evident last weekend at the state fairgrounds: As voters talked up first-time presidential candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Mr. Sanders was often an afterthought.

Some voters cited Mr. Sanders’s age. Others said they wanted to elect a woman. Many praised his ability to push the party to the left but said it was time for someone else to claim the progressive mantle.

“I’m liking Elizabeth Warren,” said Danielle Hensley, a 22-year-old student from Iowa City, after casting her presidential vote at the fair’s highly unscientific corn kernel poll. Ms. Hensley supported Mr. Sanders in the caucuses four years ago; now, she explained, she sees him as “a 2016 candidate.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159170787_3842eec9-1722-46cc-906f-b8558f203f12-articleLarge Why Bernie Sanders Stood Out at the Iowa State Fair Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Primaries and Caucuses Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Democratic Party

Unlike in 2016, when Mr. Sanders was the only candidate with a liberal populist message, there are now many other progressives who have adopted a similar agenda.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times

It is still early in the primary season, and Mr. Sanders and his aides dismiss outright any notion that his Iowa campaign has lost momentum, repeatedly asserting that the campaign is well positioned for the long haul. They remain confident that they can energize first-time caucusgoers who were too young to cast their votes four years ago. And they brush off a recent poll that showed Mr. Sanders slipping in the state, saying that it does not capture the views of younger voters, working-class Democrats and others who are not yet paying attention to the race — groups that the campaign sees as a big part of his base.

“We’re feeling really, really good,” Mr. Sanders told reporters after his turn at the fair’s political soapbox. “I think we’re going to win here in Iowa.”

During a conference call with reporters on Monday, Mr. Sanders’s advisers pushed back against doubts about the strength of the campaign, insisting that most polls still have him in second place, and noting that he enjoyed a boost in support in surveys taken after the second Democratic debates. They also maintained that voters trust Mr. Sanders on health care, which his team argues is the most important issue to the electorate.

Mr. Sanders has some significant advantages in the state.

Some gave Mr. Sanders a thumbs down as he made his way through the fair.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

Through the end of June, he had an estimated 7,000 individual donors in Iowa, according to an analysis of campaign fund-raising records by The New York Times, by far the most of any candidate. And he maintains an army of die-hard liberal foot soldiers who are more than eager to propel him to the convention. On Friday, before the state’s annual Wing Ding dinner in Clear Lake when supporters for the various candidates typically gather and chant outside the event as a show of force, Mr. Sanders’s team boasted that their volunteers had instead knocked on every Democratic door in the town. He plans to return to Iowa next week for what will be his eighth trip to the state since announcing his candidacy in February.

But the landscape for Mr. Sanders is vastly different than it was four years ago. Nearly two dozen candidates are now vying for the nomination. And unlike in 2016, when he had the liberal populist message to himself, there are now many other progressives who have adopted a similar agenda. There is also a surging energy among young activists for diversity, female candidates and generational change.

At the same time, several Iowa Democratic officials said they were miffed by Mr. Sanders’s campaign, which they see as operating as something of a lone wolf.

Jeannine Grady, Democratic chairwoman in Marshall County, where Mr. Sanders defeated Mrs. Clinton in the caucuses in 2016, said Mr. Sanders’s campaign is not following the traditional campaign playbook of staying in close contact with county chairs.

Though running an unconventional, outsider campaign had worked for him in the past, she said, it may not work this time, especially now that his message is no longer novel and voters have so many other candidates on offer.

“I don’t believe it’s possible for him to run an insurgent campaign like he did four years ago,” said Ms. Grady, who caucused for Mr. Sanders in 2016. “Part of being an insurgent is being relatively unknown. He can’t now be unknown.”

[The race is fluid, and other things we learned from the July Democratic debates.]

“Sanders is running on the fumes of his last campaign,” said William Baresel, Democratic chairman in Floyd County. “And weakness is starting to show in get-out-the-vote efforts they have done.”

Sanders allies say it is precisely that willingness to operate outside the established political system that is part of Mr. Sanders’s appeal, especially for those who believe the current system is broken and requires wholesale change.

Mr. Sanders’s most loyal fans still flock to his events because of the constancy of his message.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times

Pete D’Alessandro, who ran Mr. Sanders’s Iowa campaign in 2016 and is now a senior adviser, stressed in an interview that the campaign was working behind the scenes to woo voters who had not yet tuned in to the political process.

“If we do as a team what we’re supposed to do each day, we will be in a position to talk to that voter who can’t engage right now when they’re ready to engage,” he said. “Then you’ll see a whole different dialogue going on.”

And he suggested that Mr. Sanders should not be measured by the usual political metrics for success.

“The reason that I’m not concerned is I know at the end of most days, we sit around as a senior staff and we say, ‘We just won today,’” he said.

But if the stakes are high for every presidential candidate in Iowa, they are even more elevated for Mr. Sanders: Many political observers say success for him in 2020 is predicated on a repeat strong performance in the caucuses.

And as he traveled across Iowa ahead of his visit to the state fair, Mr. Sanders declared that he planned to win not just the Iowa caucuses, but the nominating contests in New Hampshire, Nevada and California as well.

Though he has faced some criticism for adhering strictly to his message, it is, perhaps above all, his constancy that has loyal fans still flocking to his events — he had one of the biggest crowds at the fair — and pledging their allegiance.

Waiting to hear Ms. Warren speak at the fair on Saturday, Misty Cornelius, 38, of Des Moines, said she remained “a strong Bernie supporter” — a declaration confirmed by the glittery “Bernie 2020” tattoo she bore on her chest.

[Sign up for our politics newsletter and join the conversation around the 2020 presidential race.]

But there were also skeptical voices.

“He’s unrealistic,” said Michael McDonald, 64, of Altoona.

“I like Bernie, but he seems a little too old, honestly,” said Andrew Ball, 22, of Iowa City.

Teresa Brumer, a 51-year-old dental assistant from Urbandale who caucused for Mr. Sanders in 2016, said she wanted to see if Mr. Sanders was “the same man as he was four years ago.”

He was, she said after hearing him speak. But she was now also considering Mr. Buttigieg.

Reid Epstein, Lisa Lerer and Thomas Kaplan contributed reporting from Des Moines, Matt Stevens from New York and Rachel Shorey from Washington.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

18 Candidates. 72 Hours. A Hectic Weekend at the Iowa State Fair.

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Democrats’ 2020 Problem: How to Be Tougher on Trade Than Trump

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s escalating economic war with China highlights a challenge for Democrats hoping to unseat him in 2020: They’ll have a hard time being tougher on trade than he is.

For years, Democrats in Congress have been warning that China is an economic aggressor bent on undermining American industry. They have denounced the North American Free Trade Agreement for outsourcing jobs and criticized China for manipulating its currency to make Chinese products cheaper. They have vowed to use federal procurement, tariffs and other tools to help American workers.

Mr. Trump has stolen that playbook and gone further. On Monday, his administration formally designated China a currency manipulator, a step some Democrats have demanded for years. Last week, the president moved forward with plans to tax nearly every toy, laptop and sneaker that China sends to the United States. Mr. Trump has also renegotiated NAFTA, imposed tariffs on foreign metals and strengthened “buy American” rules so that federal projects use more materials from the United States.

So far, many of these efforts have not produced the kind of change Mr. Trump promised. His revised NAFTA, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is languishing in Congress, and his sweeping tariffs have prompted China and Europe to retaliate against American products, particularly farm goods. The president’s trade war with China has begun driving up costs for consumers and businesses.

But Mr. Trump’s trade assault has put Democrats in an awkward spot. They are trying to figure out how to differentiate themselves from Mr. Trump — without ceding their position as the party that will do the most to defend workers against the downsides of globalization.

So far, they are divided between two very different approaches. On one side are Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates who hew more closely to Mr. Trump’s isolationist approach, arguing that trade pacts have sold out workers in favor of corporations. On the other are those advocating the type of engagement undertaken by previous Democratic administrations, including those of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, to try to gain more influence over other countries through negotiation and trade.

The party is split along familiar lines, with progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont calling for a more radical transformation of trade policy, and moderates like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. espousing a more traditional approach.

That division is exposing a vulnerability for a party that has historically embraced a tougher stance on free trade than Republicans but has seen that position erode with the ascension of moderate Democrats like Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama.

Progressives who had railed against trade pacts for years felt shunted aside in the Clinton administration, as pro-trade Democrats brought China into the World Trade Organization and finished NAFTA, a trade deal begun by President George Bush. They felt similarly ignored by the Obama administration, which pushed ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multicountry trade pact, despite complaints that the deal was a boon to drug companies, would allow foreign automakers to flood the American market and overlooked labor violations in countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.

Then came Mr. Trump, whose assaults on China and the North American Free Trade Agreement during the 2016 campaign mimicked what many Democrats had been saying. His promises to put “America first” won over some of the union rank and file, if not their leaders.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158821320_57de6d9f-8ae5-4d28-91e2-f08f7e353acb-articleLarge Democrats’ 2020 Problem: How to Be Tougher on Trade Than Trump Warren, Elizabeth United States Politics and Government Sanders, Bernard Ryan, Timothy J (1973- ) Presidential Election of 2020 Politics and Government Pelosi, Nancy International Trade and World Market Gabbard, Tulsi (1981- ) de Blasio, Bill Brown, Sherrod Biden, Joseph R Jr

The Democrats are split between more moderate voices, like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who wants to embrace free trade, and more isolationist candidates who say trade deals hurt American workers and benefit corporations.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“At one time, the Democrats were much more aggressive on trade than the Republicans,” said Daniel DiMicco, President Trump’s trade adviser during the 2016 campaign, who leads the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a trade group. “They’ve been missing for decades on this, just as many of the Republicans had.”

For now, many of the Democratic candidates are characterizing Mr. Trump’s trade policy as haphazard and inept. But some have also praised him for pursuing policies they have backed for years.

“I think President Trump was onto something when he talked about China,” Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio said last month in the second Democratic debate in Detroit. “China has been abusing the economic system for a long time. They steal intellectual property. They subsidize goods coming into this country. They’ve displaced steel workers, autoworkers, across the board, eroded our manufacturing.”

“So I think we need some targeted response against China,” Mr. Ryan added. “But you know how you beat China? You outcompete them.”

Mr. Ryan and other candidates spent much of the recent debate denouncing Mr. Trump’s trade war as a conflict without winners. But they offered few concrete ideas for how to better position the United States against China’s growing economic ambitions. And while the candidates were united in saying Mr. Trump’s tariffs were not the solution, only Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii would commit to rolling them back once in office.

Instead, Democrats proposed working with allies to try to restrain China, or investing in job training programs to improve America’s competitiveness as a manufacturing base. And they clashed over whether their approach should result in more trade agreements, like Mr. Biden suggests, or fewer, like Ms. Warren.

The stakes are particularly high for Mr. Biden, who has a record of supporting free-trade deals like NAFTA, which he voted for while in Congress, and the TPP, which was ushered in while he was vice president. Although Mr. Biden portrays himself as the candidate most in touch with — and able to win — blue-collar and union workers, that electorate has become increasingly disillusioned with free trade and its ability to deliver promised gains.

Mr. Biden has called for rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was aimed, in part, at pressuring China to overhaul its economy and strengthening the United States’ ability to compete against it in Asia. That deal proved deeply unpopular as the 2016 election approached — including with the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton — and Mr. Trump pulled the United States out of it in his first week in office.

Mr. Biden tried to head off criticism in the most recent debate, saying that he “would not rejoin the TPP as it was initially put forward” but would “insist that we renegotiate.”

“Either China is going to write the rules of the road for the 21st century on trade, or we are,” Mr. Biden said. “We have to join with the 40 percent of the world that we had with us.”

Others, like Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, continue to criticize trade pacts like the TPP as drafted by and for multinational corporations.

Progressive Democratic candidates including Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren argue that free trade agreements have hurt American workers. Ms. Warren wants the United States to do deals only with countries that adhere to strict environmental and labor standards.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Trade deals “have become a way for giant multinationals to change the regulatory environment so they can suck more profits out for themselves and to leave the American people behind,” Ms. Warren said in the debate.

In Ms. Warren’s view, the United States should act as an agent of global change by only entering into trade deals with countries that have strong labor, environmental and other protections.

The standards in her trade agenda, released in July, are so high that they would prohibit the United States from entering new trade agreements with countries including South Korea, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Mexico — and, currently, the United States itself.

“Unlike the insiders, I don’t think ‘free trade’ deals that benefit big multinational corporations and international capital at the expense of American workers are good simply because they open up markets,” Ms. Warren said.

Mr. Sanders’s trade proposals, though less detailed, include ending federal contracts for companies that send jobs overseas, scrapping Mr. Trump’s rewrite of NAFTA, and labeling China a currency manipulator. The plan focuses on fulfilling Mr. Trump’s promise of renegotiating existing trade deals to stop the outsourcing of American jobs, rather than writing new agreements.

Some candidates also see Mr. Trump’s rewrite of NAFTA as an opportunity to revive voter anger toward a trade deal that many within the party blame for decimating American manufacturing, particularly the auto industry.

“President Trump is trying to sell NAFTA 2.0,” Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, said in the debate as he tried to attack Mr. Biden, who voted in favor of the original deal while in Congress. “It’s just as dangerous as the old NAFTA. It’s going to take away American jobs like the old NAFTA, like it did to Michigan. And we cannot have Democrats be party to a new NAFTA.”

Mr. Trump’s renegotiated NAFTA is largely an update of the 25-year-old pact, and it adds some provisions that Democrats have long favored, like higher requirements for using American materials to make cars and the rollback of a special system of arbitration for corporations.

But Democrats say its provisions on labor rights and the environment are too weak. And they have particularly criticized a provision that would lock in intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical makers, seeing this as an issue where they can drive a wedge between the president and his populist base.

“Anyone who thinks that these trade deals are mostly about tariffs just doesn’t understand what’s going on,” Ms. Warren said in the debate. “Look at the new NAFTA 2.0. What’s the central feature? It’s to help pharmaceutical companies get longer periods of exclusivity so they can charge Canadians, Americans and Mexicans more money and make more profits.”

Some Democrats argue that Mr. Trump’s trade policy will not be difficult to counter, now that the pain of the trade war is being felt.

“Because he opposed NAFTA and trade agreements like I did, I think a lot of voters found that attractive, because these trade agreements have sold out American workers,” said Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is not running for president. “But I think people’s patience is running thin, because his trade policy has really brought us nothing except a more difficult situation for a lot of people.”

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At Iowa’s Wing Ding Dinner, Democrats Assail G.O.P. on Gun Control

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa — The Democratic presidential candidates paused here for a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, underscoring how the turbulent events of the past week have refocused the primary contest.

The brief lull in the primary campaign came as nearly the entire field descended on Northern Iowa on Friday night for the Wing Ding dinner, an annual event that has long served as an early testing ground for Democratic presidential aspirants.

In speech after speech, the candidates focused their fire on assailing President Trump and Republicans for their lack of action on gun control and abetting white supremacy — rather than focusing their fire on each other.

Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio recounted his recent trip to Kentucky, where he led protests of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, for not acting on gun control legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

“We need gun reform in America and we need it now,” Mr. Ryan said, bringing the crowd to their feet. “People are dying on the streets of this country, getting killed by weapons that were made for battlefields not neighborhoods like Dayton, Ohio.”

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey used his five-minute slot to deliver a somber sermon on the “moral moment” faced by the country.

“This is a week where I will not let the slaughter of our fellow citizens just disappear within the next media cycle,” he said.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who received rapturous applause from the crowd, focused his remarks on turning the page from the Trump presidency, describing white nationalism as a “national security threat.”

“We’ve got to win not just the era but the future of this country,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “We are going to fix things in this country, we are going to do it together.”

The party fund-raiser, held at Clear Lake’s iconic Surf Ballroom, where Buddy Holly played his final rock show before dying in a plane crash in a nearby cornfield, has become an essential stop for Democratic activists and candidates to size up the field.

[Here’s the latest data on who’s leading the race to be the Democratic nominee.]

Barack Obama spoke here in 2007 before his presidential campaign caught fire. And last year, when Michael Avenatti, the celebrity lawyer, was weighing a presidential bid, he wowed the crowd and presaged the 2020 campaign by urging Democrats to fight as dirty as Mr. Trump does.

(Mr. Avenatti abandoned his presidential hopes in December. Four months later he was charged in a scheme to extort Nike, the shoe manufacturer.)

This year, Mr. Buttigieg, Senator Elizabeth Warren and J.D. Scholten, who is beginning a second campaign against Representative Steve King of Iowa, won the strongest reception from the audience.

Jerry Dietz, a 79-year-old farmer, said he arrived at the event backing Senator Amy Klobuchar but left most impressed by Mr. Buttigieg, though he worried the country wasn’t ready to elect the first gay president.

“I have relatives who wouldn’t vote for him,” he said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159091542_26d5bbec-749e-481f-bca6-b5fb6fd17673-articleLarge At Iowa’s Wing Ding Dinner, Democrats Assail G.O.P. on Gun Control Yang, Andrew (1975- ) Warren, Elizabeth Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Iowa Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Bullock, Steve Booker, Cory A Biden, Joseph R Jr

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. received rapturous applause from the crowd, describing white nationalism as a “national security threat.”CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times

For many Democrats, the back-to-back mass shootings last weekend offered another reminder of their most deeply-held desire: Ousting Mr. Trump.

Many in the Democratic primary field have heightened their denunciations of Mr. Trump, labeling him a racist and a white supremacist.

As he left the White House for a vacation at his New Jersey golf club on Friday night, Mr. Trump called for lawmakers to pass “meaningful” background checks, a sign that the president finds himself under new political pressure.

Even so, there were no major signals on Friday from the N.R.A., the White House or Capitol Hill that action on the politically fraught issue was closer to compromise or resolution.

Setting himself apart from his rivals, former Representative Beto O’Rourke stayed home in El Paso to attend memorials and visit with shooting victims in his mourning hometown.

“I’m here to make sure that at this moment we do not allow ourselves to be defined by this act of terror,” he said, by way of a video message, “but instead by the way this community overcomes this attack.”

Outside, young boosters for a half-dozen campaigns chanted and screamed at each other. Someone played “Come on Eileen” for no discernible reason. And former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. slow jogged outside to greet his supporters.

The speeches at the Wing Ding dinner surpassed the two-hour mark, with 22 candidates each delivering their pitch in back-to-back-to-back five-minute increments to a sweaty room of Democratic activists. Several opened their comments with cracks about the size of the field, a reality that’s begun to worry party officials and voters.

Of course, as Mr. Holly once crooned, everyday the caucuses are “a-getting closer” and the race is “a-getting faster.” The Iowa blitz this weekend signifies the unofficial start of the fall campaign season, a time when the field is likely to narrow as candidates fail to qualify for debates and start hemorrhaging campaign cash.

[Andrew Yang became the 9th Democrat to qualify for the next debate.]

The dinner comes as the field battles to overtake Mr. Biden, who’s commanded a steady lead in the race despite a series of gaffes. On Thursday evening, Mr. Biden raised eyebrows during a speech in Iowa when he said that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.

A new survey in the state shows Ms. Warren gaining ground and Senator Bernie Sanders sliding. Mr. Sanders’s near win in the caucuses three years ago is what fueled his insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Taffy Brodesser-Akner contributed reporting from Clear Lake.

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Four Democratic Candidates Call on Walmart to Stop Selling Guns

FORT DODGE, Iowa — At least four Democratic presidential candidates called on Walmart on Friday to stop selling guns after the mass shooting at one of the company’s stores in El Paso last weekend.

“The weapons they sell are killing their own customers and employees,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts wrote on Twitter on Friday morning. “No profit is worth those lives. Do the right thing — stop selling guns.”

Later in the morning, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont echoed that call, pointing to Walmart employees who have objected to the company’s continued sale of guns.

“Walmart should respect the voices of its workers who are calling on the company to stop selling guns,” Mr. Sanders said. “I agree. This is exactly why I believe workers deserve representation on their board, so that their views are heeded.”

STATE OF THE RACE

Walmart is the largest seller of guns in the United States, though it has gradually limited the types of firearms it offers in its stores.

It stopped selling assault-style rifles in 2015, citing lower consumer demand. It sells handguns in only one state, Alaska. And after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last year, it raised the minimum age for gun buyers at its stores to 21, regardless of local laws.

The gunman at the El Paso store, who the authorities say killed 22 people, was carrying an AK-style assault rifle.

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said Friday that the company was uniquely positioned to make a difference.

“Walmart should use its power to stop selling guns in its stores until politicians and gun manufacturers get their act together and raise the standard for gun ownership in this country,” Mr. Booker said.

And after Walmart said it was removing displays promoting violent video games from its stores, Julián Castro, the former housing secretary and mayor of San Antonio, criticized that plan and said it should stop selling guns instead.

A Walmart spokesman declined to comment on the candidates’ statements but said the company was reviewing its policies.

Ms. Warren, Mr. Sanders and Mr. Castro are among the candidates scheduled to speak at a forum on gun safety on Saturday in Des Moines, sponsored by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Ms. Warren, who has stood out in the Democratic primary race for her large collection of policy plans, will unveil a proposal on gun control on Saturday, according to her campaign.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_159033471_d2b0836b-a13f-4cac-8dc8-72184122fed9-articleLarge Four Democratic Candidates Call on Walmart to Stop Selling Guns Warren, Elizabeth Walmart Stores Inc Sanders, Bernard National Rifle Assn mass shootings gun control firearms El Paso, Tex, Shooting (2019) Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A

Senator Elizabeth Warren during a town hall in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on Thursday.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

Speaking to reporters in Iowa on Thursday, Ms. Warren did not offer up details about her forthcoming plan, saying only that the National Rifle Association was “not going to like it.”

In calling on Walmart to stop selling guns, Ms. Warren wrote that “sometimes, companies recognize that they have an obligation to the lives, health, and safety of their communities.” As an example, she cited CVS’s decision in 2014 to stop selling tobacco products.

“Companies that sell guns,” she wrote, “have a responsibility to the safety of their communities.”

More on the candidates and the mass shootings

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Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump

EL PASO — Democratic candidates for president on Sunday reacted strongly to two mass shootings that killed at least 29 people, calling on Congress to act decisively on gun control while denouncing a culture of hatred and white nationalism that some said emanated from the Trump White House.

Speaking to CBS News early Sunday, former Representative Beto O’Rourke said Mr. Trump had “a lot to do with what happened in El Paso yesterday,” arguing that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants and asylum seekers was responsible for having sown “the kind of fear, the kind of reaction that we saw in El Paso yesterday.”

“It’s up to all of us to put an end to this racism and make sure that we don’t just tolerate our differences, but as we’ve shown here in El Paso, we embrace them as the very source of our strength and our success,” said Mr. O’Rourke, who is from El Paso and represented the district for years in Congress.

The pair of shootings on Saturday, in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, killed at least 29 people and injured dozens more. Law enforcement authorities are looking into whether the suspect in El Paso was connected to a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto that had appeared online minutes before the shooting. They said Sunday that they were investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

Like Mr. O’Rourke, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”

“He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” Mr. Booker said of Mr. Trump. “He is responsible because he is failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is, which is responsible for such a significant amount of the terrorist attacks. He is responsible because he is president of the United States and has failed to do anything significant to stop the mass availability of weapons to people who intend to do harm.”

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, called the shootings “a serious problem” on ABC, but denied that the president was to blame and rejected the idea that he had not taken seriously the threat of white nationalism.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158821323_c17e7a53-3756-4d81-a11b-e212708a2691-articleLarge Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard O'Rourke, Beto National Rifle Assn Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Harris, Kamala D gun control firearms El Paso (Tex) DAYTON, Ohio Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“They are sick, sick people and the president knows that,” Mr. Mulvaney said, referring to the attackers. “I don’t think it’s fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president.”

In an interview on CNN, Mr. O’Rourke said Mr. Trump “is a racist.”

“And he stokes racism in this country,” he added. “And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

Asked in another CNN interview whether he believed Mr. Trump to be a white nationalist, he said yes. “The things that he has said both as a candidate and then as the president of the United States, this cannot be open for debate,” he said.

Following the round of interviews on national political talk shows, Mr. O’Rourke stepped in front of dozens more television cameras in El Paso and made a declaration that has become a common refrain: “We cannot let this be the new normal.”

Later, Mr. O’Rourke was approached by the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a student who was killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018. Mr. Oliver spoke to Mr. O’Rourke at length, pleading with him to ensure that lawmakers find a way to curb gun violence.

Other Democratic candidates were more indirect in reference to the president’s connection to the violence, and focused on the need to enact stricter gun controls and combat the influence of the National Rifle Association.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., said he believed politicians and the White House were hesitant to condemn white supremacist terrorism because they were “embarrassed.”

“At best he’s condoning and encouraging white nationalism,” Mr. Buttigieg added, speaking of Mr. Trump. “We have a president who made his career politically on demonizing Mexicans — and now we’re seeing reports that the shooter, yesterday, had his goal as killing as many Mexicans as possible. You don’t have to use a lot of imagination to connect the dots here. It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high.”

In a statement, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont excoriated the N.R.A. and urged Mr. Trump and Congress to “listen to the American people, not the ideology of a right wing extremist organization.” Citing news reports, he said in no uncertain terms that the shooting appeared to be “yet another white nationalist domestic terror attack.”

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the National Rifle Association.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“We must come together as a nation to reject this dangerous and growing culture of bigotry espoused by Trump and his allies,” Mr. Sanders said.

In a video Senator Kamala Harris of California posted on Twitter early on Sunday, she sounded exasperated as she implored Mr. Trump to “have the courage to act” and “do something.”

Other Democrats were less willing to assign blame directly at the feet of Mr. Trump, but were still pointed in their critiques.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. opened a campaign event Saturday evening in Las Vegas with remarks about the El Paso shooting, but focused more on fighting the N.R.A.

“What I can say without fear of contradiction: Enough is enough is enough, and it’s been enough for the past, for the past five years,” he said.

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the N.R.A, saying that even its members supported gun control measures like background checks and adding that one of his priorities as president would be combating gun violence.

“The bottom line is, we beat them before and we can beat them again,” he said. “And it is my intention to do just that.”

The former mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro would not hold Mr. Trump as directly responsible for Saturday’s violence as Mr. Booker had.

“The person that is responsible for the shooting is the shooter,” Mr. Castro said. “At the same time, if you’re in a position of leadership, you set the tone for the country, and there is no question that this president is setting a tone of division and fanning the flames of bigotry and of hate.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump

EL PASO — Democratic candidates for president on Sunday reacted strongly to two mass shootings that killed at least 29 people, calling on Congress to act decisively on gun control while denouncing a culture of hatred and white nationalism that some said emanated from the Trump White House.

Speaking to CBS News early Sunday, former Representative Beto O’Rourke said Mr. Trump had “a lot to do with what happened in El Paso yesterday,” arguing that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants and asylum seekers was responsible for having sown “the kind of fear, the kind of reaction that we saw in El Paso yesterday.”

“It’s up to all of us to put an end to this racism and make sure that we don’t just tolerate our differences, but as we’ve shown here in El Paso, we embrace them as the very source of our strength and our success,” said Mr. O’Rourke, who is from El Paso and represented the district for years in Congress.

The pair of shootings on Saturday, in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, killed at least 29 people and injured dozens more. Law enforcement authorities are looking into whether the suspect in El Paso was connected to a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto that had appeared online minutes before the shooting. They said Sunday that they were investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

Like Mr. O’Rourke, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”

“He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” Mr. Booker said of Mr. Trump. “He is responsible because he is failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is, which is responsible for such a significant amount of the terrorist attacks. He is responsible because he is president of the United States and has failed to do anything significant to stop the mass availability of weapons to people who intend to do harm.”

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, called the shootings “a serious problem” on ABC, but denied that the president was to blame and rejected the idea that he had not taken seriously the threat of white nationalism.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158821323_c17e7a53-3756-4d81-a11b-e212708a2691-articleLarge Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard O'Rourke, Beto National Rifle Assn Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Harris, Kamala D gun control firearms El Paso (Tex) DAYTON, Ohio Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“They are sick, sick people and the president knows that,” Mr. Mulvaney said, referring to the attackers. “I don’t think it’s fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president.”

In an interview on CNN, Mr. O’Rourke said Mr. Trump “is a racist.”

“And he stokes racism in this country,” he added. “And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

Asked in another CNN interview whether he believed Mr. Trump to be a white nationalist, he said yes. “The things that he has said both as a candidate and then as the president of the United States, this cannot be open for debate,” he said.

Following the round of interviews on national political talk shows, Mr. O’Rourke stepped in front of dozens more television cameras in El Paso and made a declaration that has become a common refrain: “We cannot let this be the new normal.”

Later, Mr. O’Rourke was approached by the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a student who was killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018. Mr. Oliver spoke to Mr. O’Rourke at length, pleading with him to ensure that lawmakers find a way to curb gun violence.

Other Democratic candidates were more indirect in reference to the president’s connection to the violence, and focused on the need to enact stricter gun controls and combat the influence of the National Rifle Association.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., said he believed politicians and the White House were hesitant to condemn white supremacist terrorism because they were “embarrassed.”

“At best he’s condoning and encouraging white nationalism,” Mr. Buttigieg added, speaking of Mr. Trump. “We have a president who made his career politically on demonizing Mexicans — and now we’re seeing reports that the shooter, yesterday, had his goal as killing as many Mexicans as possible. You don’t have to use a lot of imagination to connect the dots here. It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high.”

In a statement, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont excoriated the N.R.A. and urged Mr. Trump and Congress to “listen to the American people, not the ideology of a right wing extremist organization.” Citing news reports, he said in no uncertain terms that the shooting appeared to be “yet another white nationalist domestic terror attack.”

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the National Rifle Association.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“We must come together as a nation to reject this dangerous and growing culture of bigotry espoused by Trump and his allies,” Mr. Sanders said.

In a video Senator Kamala Harris of California posted on Twitter early on Sunday, she sounded exasperated as she implored Mr. Trump to “have the courage to act” and “do something.”

Other Democrats were less willing to assign blame directly at the feet of Mr. Trump, but were still pointed in their critiques.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. opened a campaign event Saturday evening in Las Vegas with remarks about the El Paso shooting, but focused more on fighting the N.R.A.

“What I can say without fear of contradiction: Enough is enough is enough, and it’s been enough for the past, for the past five years,” he said.

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the N.R.A, saying that even its members supported gun control measures like background checks and adding that one of his priorities as president would be combating gun violence.

“The bottom line is, we beat them before and we can beat them again,” he said. “And it is my intention to do just that.”

The former mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro would not hold Mr. Trump as directly responsible for Saturday’s violence as Mr. Booker had.

“The person that is responsible for the shooting is the shooter,” Mr. Castro said. “At the same time, if you’re in a position of leadership, you set the tone for the country, and there is no question that this president is setting a tone of division and fanning the flames of bigotry and of hate.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump

EL PASO — Democratic candidates for president on Sunday reacted strongly to two mass shootings that killed at least 29 people, calling on Congress to act decisively on gun control while denouncing a culture of hatred and white nationalism that some said emanated from the Trump White House.

Speaking to CBS News early Sunday, former Representative Beto O’Rourke said Mr. Trump had “a lot to do with what happened in El Paso yesterday,” arguing that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants and asylum seekers was responsible for having sown “the kind of fear, the kind of reaction that we saw in El Paso yesterday.”

“It’s up to all of us to put an end to this racism and make sure that we don’t just tolerate our differences, but as we’ve shown here in El Paso, we embrace them as the very source of our strength and our success,” said Mr. O’Rourke, who is from El Paso and represented the district for years in Congress.

The pair of shootings on Saturday, in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, killed at least 29 people and injured dozens more. Law enforcement authorities are looking into whether the suspect in El Paso was connected to a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto that had appeared online minutes before the shooting. They said Sunday that they were investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

Like Mr. O’Rourke, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”

“He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” Mr. Booker said of Mr. Trump. “He is responsible because he is failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is, which is responsible for such a significant amount of the terrorist attacks. He is responsible because he is president of the United States and has failed to do anything significant to stop the mass availability of weapons to people who intend to do harm.”

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, called the shootings “a serious problem” on ABC, but denied that the president was to blame and rejected the idea that he had not taken seriously the threat of white nationalism.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158821323_c17e7a53-3756-4d81-a11b-e212708a2691-articleLarge Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard O'Rourke, Beto National Rifle Assn Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Harris, Kamala D gun control firearms El Paso (Tex) DAYTON, Ohio Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“They are sick, sick people and the president knows that,” Mr. Mulvaney said, referring to the attackers. “I don’t think it’s fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president.”

In an interview on CNN, Mr. O’Rourke said Mr. Trump “is a racist.”

“And he stokes racism in this country,” he added. “And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

Asked in another CNN interview whether he believed Mr. Trump to be a white nationalist, he said yes. “The things that he has said both as a candidate and then as the president of the United States, this cannot be open for debate,” he said.

Following the round of interviews on national political talk shows, Mr. O’Rourke stepped in front of dozens more television cameras in El Paso and made a declaration that has become a common refrain: “We cannot let this be the new normal.”

Later, Mr. O’Rourke was approached by the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a student who was killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018. Mr. Oliver spoke to Mr. O’Rourke at length, pleading with him to ensure that lawmakers find a way to curb gun violence.

Other Democratic candidates were more indirect in reference to the president’s connection to the violence, and focused on the need to enact stricter gun controls and combat the influence of the National Rifle Association.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., said he believed politicians and the White House were hesitant to condemn white supremacist terrorism because they were “embarrassed.”

“At best he’s condoning and encouraging white nationalism,” Mr. Buttigieg added, speaking of Mr. Trump. “We have a president who made his career politically on demonizing Mexicans — and now we’re seeing reports that the shooter, yesterday, had his goal as killing as many Mexicans as possible. You don’t have to use a lot of imagination to connect the dots here. It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high.”

In a statement, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont excoriated the N.R.A. and urged Mr. Trump and Congress to “listen to the American people, not the ideology of a right wing extremist organization.” Citing news reports, he said in no uncertain terms that the shooting appeared to be “yet another white nationalist domestic terror attack.”

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the National Rifle Association.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“We must come together as a nation to reject this dangerous and growing culture of bigotry espoused by Trump and his allies,” Mr. Sanders said.

In a video Senator Kamala Harris of California posted on Twitter early on Sunday, she sounded exasperated as she implored Mr. Trump to “have the courage to act” and “do something.”

Other Democrats were less willing to assign blame directly at the feet of Mr. Trump, but were still pointed in their critiques.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. opened a campaign event Saturday evening in Las Vegas with remarks about the El Paso shooting, but focused more on fighting the N.R.A.

“What I can say without fear of contradiction: Enough is enough is enough, and it’s been enough for the past, for the past five years,” he said.

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the N.R.A, saying that even its members supported gun control measures like background checks and adding that one of his priorities as president would be combating gun violence.

“The bottom line is, we beat them before and we can beat them again,” he said. “And it is my intention to do just that.”

The former mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro would not hold Mr. Trump as directly responsible for Saturday’s violence as Mr. Booker had.

“The person that is responsible for the shooting is the shooter,” Mr. Castro said. “At the same time, if you’re in a position of leadership, you set the tone for the country, and there is no question that this president is setting a tone of division and fanning the flames of bigotry and of hate.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump

EL PASO — Democratic candidates for president on Sunday reacted strongly to two mass shootings that killed at least 29 people, calling on Congress to act decisively on gun control while denouncing a culture of hatred and white nationalism that some said emanated from the Trump White House.

Speaking to CBS News early Sunday, former Representative Beto O’Rourke said Mr. Trump had “a lot to do with what happened in El Paso yesterday,” arguing that Mr. Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants and asylum seekers was responsible for having sown “the kind of fear, the kind of reaction that we saw in El Paso yesterday.”

“It’s up to all of us to put an end to this racism and make sure that we don’t just tolerate our differences, but as we’ve shown here in El Paso, we embrace them as the very source of our strength and our success,” said Mr. O’Rourke, who is from El Paso and represented the district for years in Congress.

The pair of shootings on Saturday, in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, killed at least 29 people and injured dozens more. Law enforcement authorities are looking into whether the suspect in El Paso was connected to a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto that had appeared online minutes before the shooting. They said Sunday that they were investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

Like Mr. O’Rourke, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”

“He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” Mr. Booker said of Mr. Trump. “He is responsible because he is failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is, which is responsible for such a significant amount of the terrorist attacks. He is responsible because he is president of the United States and has failed to do anything significant to stop the mass availability of weapons to people who intend to do harm.”

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, called the shootings “a serious problem” on ABC, but denied that the president was to blame and rejected the idea that he had not taken seriously the threat of white nationalism.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158821323_c17e7a53-3756-4d81-a11b-e212708a2691-articleLarge Some Democratic Candidates Seek to Link Shootings to Trump United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sanders, Bernard O'Rourke, Beto National Rifle Assn Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Harris, Kamala D gun control firearms El Paso (Tex) DAYTON, Ohio Castro, Julian Booker, Cory A

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey put the blame for the shootings on the president, saying, “Donald Trump is responsible for this.”CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“They are sick, sick people and the president knows that,” Mr. Mulvaney said, referring to the attackers. “I don’t think it’s fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president.”

In an interview on CNN, Mr. O’Rourke said Mr. Trump “is a racist.”

“And he stokes racism in this country,” he added. “And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

Asked in another CNN interview whether he believed Mr. Trump to be a white nationalist, he said yes. “The things that he has said both as a candidate and then as the president of the United States, this cannot be open for debate,” he said.

Following the round of interviews on national political talk shows, Mr. O’Rourke stepped in front of dozens more television cameras in El Paso and made a declaration that has become a common refrain: “We cannot let this be the new normal.”

Later, Mr. O’Rourke was approached by the parents of Joaquin Oliver, a student who was killed in the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018. Mr. Oliver spoke to Mr. O’Rourke at length, pleading with him to ensure that lawmakers find a way to curb gun violence.

Other Democratic candidates were more indirect in reference to the president’s connection to the violence, and focused on the need to enact stricter gun controls and combat the influence of the National Rifle Association.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., said he believed politicians and the White House were hesitant to condemn white supremacist terrorism because they were “embarrassed.”

“At best he’s condoning and encouraging white nationalism,” Mr. Buttigieg added, speaking of Mr. Trump. “We have a president who made his career politically on demonizing Mexicans — and now we’re seeing reports that the shooter, yesterday, had his goal as killing as many Mexicans as possible. You don’t have to use a lot of imagination to connect the dots here. It is very clear that this kind of hate is being legitimized from on high.”

In a statement, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont excoriated the N.R.A. and urged Mr. Trump and Congress to “listen to the American people, not the ideology of a right wing extremist organization.” Citing news reports, he said in no uncertain terms that the shooting appeared to be “yet another white nationalist domestic terror attack.”

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the National Rifle Association.CreditBridget Bennett for The New York Times

“We must come together as a nation to reject this dangerous and growing culture of bigotry espoused by Trump and his allies,” Mr. Sanders said.

In a video Senator Kamala Harris of California posted on Twitter early on Sunday, she sounded exasperated as she implored Mr. Trump to “have the courage to act” and “do something.”

Other Democrats were less willing to assign blame directly at the feet of Mr. Trump, but were still pointed in their critiques.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. opened a campaign event Saturday evening in Las Vegas with remarks about the El Paso shooting, but focused more on fighting the N.R.A.

“What I can say without fear of contradiction: Enough is enough is enough, and it’s been enough for the past, for the past five years,” he said.

Mr. Biden called gun violence in America a “sickness” and insisted that the country could “beat” the N.R.A, saying that even its members supported gun control measures like background checks and adding that one of his priorities as president would be combating gun violence.

“The bottom line is, we beat them before and we can beat them again,” he said. “And it is my intention to do just that.”

The former mayor of San Antonio Julian Castro would not hold Mr. Trump as directly responsible for Saturday’s violence as Mr. Booker had.

“The person that is responsible for the shooting is the shooter,” Mr. Castro said. “At the same time, if you’re in a position of leadership, you set the tone for the country, and there is no question that this president is setting a tone of division and fanning the flames of bigotry and of hate.”

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