Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren has officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign at a rally, using the backdrop of Everett Mills – the site of a historic 1912 labour strike led by women and immigrants.
Over 44 minutes in sub-freezing temperatures in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Warren on Saturday issued a call for action against wealthy power brokers who “have been waging class warfare against hardworking people for decades”, CNN reported.
“The man in the White House is not the cause of what is broken, he is just the latest and most extreme symptom of what’s gone wrong in America,” Warren said of President Donald Trump.
“A product of a rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else. So once he’s gone, we can’t pretend that none of this ever happened.”
The formal start of the Massachusetts Senator’s White House campaign comes as the Democratic primary intensifies by the day, with numerous candidates including Indian American Senator Kamala Harris, already in the race, and others, like Senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, expected to jump in soon.
In a warning to rivals, Warren touted her refusal to accept donations from lobbyists, corporate PACs (political action committees) or the support of super PACs, and challenged “every other candidate who asks for your vote in this primary to say exactly the same thing”.
Warren was joined by family, including her husband, Bruce, two children and grandchildren.
In the days leading up to Saturday’s announcement, Warren had been weighed down by new questions over her past claims to Native American heritage.
The Washington Post reported that Warren wrote in 1986 that her race was “American Indian” in a Texas state bar registration card, adding to the list of instances in which the Senator self-identified this way.
The disclosure prompted yet another public apology from Warren, just days after she had expressed remorse to Cherokee leaders for using a DNA test last year to try to show her Native American ancestry.
Warren is slated to begin a six-state tour on Sunday, CNN reported.
After Lawrence, she will travel north to campaign in New Hampshire before flying to Iowa and then South Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and California next week.
The campaign’s decision to stage its first major rally in Lawrence, a former industrial mill town, was an appeal to the key constituency groups — immigrants, women, working class families, union members — Warren hopes to appeal to.
“There’ll be plenty of doubters and cowards and armchair critics this time around,” Warren said. “But we learned a long time ago, you don’t get what you don’t fight for.”
In 1912, textile workers in Lawrence, many of them immigrant women, walked off the job and went on strike to protest wage cuts.
In an email to supporters last week, Warren’s campaign wrote: “Underpaid, overworked, and flat-out exploited workers from more than 50 countries gave Lawrence the nickname ‘Immigrant City.'”
In her speech on Saturday, she pledged to go further, to “break up monopolies when they choke off competition” and “take on Wall Street banks so that the big banks can never again threaten the security of our economy”.