2020 Insight: Trump says he’ll throw a DNA test at ‘Pocahontas’; Kennedy talks presidential
Our weekly roundup of the news, notes and chatter about the prospects for the next Democratic presidential race:
President Donald Trump made headlines — and offered a glimpse at what his 2020 campaign is going to look like — with a two-for-one swipe at the #MeToo movement and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren during his rally in Montana on Thursday night.
Trump was out west to pump up Matt Rosendale, the Republican running to unseat Democratic Sen. Jon Tester in November. But as with most of Trump’s speeches on the midterm campaign trail, it was less about the candidate and more about the speaker and his grievances.
Trump again called Warren “Pocahontas,” attacking her claims of Native American heritage and saying he wants her to take a DNA test. He even said he’d throw one at her on a presidential debate stage. “We’ll take that little kit and say — we have to do it gently because we are in the Me Too generation — and we will very gently take that kit, slowly toss it” to her, Trump said.
Warren fired back at Trump on Twitter, calling up the ongoing family separation crisis at the border. “While you obsess over my genes, your Admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas & you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order,” she wrote. “Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you’re destroying.”
The week ahead:
— Former President Barack Obama is in Spain and Portugal through the weekend, attending an economy and innovation conference in Madrid and then a climate change leadership summit in Porto.
— On Monday Trump is set to announce his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, teeing up a handful of Democratic presidential prospects in the Senate to make the case against a conservative appointment.
— On Tuesday former Vice President Joe Biden is an honored guest at the Marine Corps Sunset Parade at the Lincoln Memorial. The following week he’ll be in Colombia for the Concordia Americas Summit.
— Trump is in Brussels for a NATO summit starting Wednesday, followed by a United Kingdom visit on Friday.
Coming up on the Sunday shows:
— No 2020 presidential prospects are booked so far.
News and notes:
JOE KENNEDY TALKS (LACK OF) PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS: Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, was interviewed by Nantucket magazine, where he was asked whether he feels pressured toward seeking the presidency. “No. I mean, not really. I’m so honored that people would even throw my name out there for consideration. But it’s not on my horizon, not on my agenda, not in my plan,” he said.
One day, though? “More than anything else, I just don’t feel that pressure and that rush,” Kennedy said. “I’ve got an incredible and really young family. I spend a lot of time away from them as it is. The job itself is demanding already, so I don’t feel the need to find something else to do at the moment. If other opportunities come up, I will evaluate them as they do and try to see if it’s the right fit for my family and me at that moment. But I’m not in a rush.”
SANDERS CALLS FOR END OF ‘CRUEL, DYSFUNCTIONAL IMMIGRATION SYSTEM’: Sen. Bernie Sanders joined Warren, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Sen. Kamala Harris on Tuesday in calling for ICE to be abolished or restructured in some way. In a series of tweets, Sanders noted his 2002 vote “against the creation of DHS and the establishment of ICE,” saying he stood behind that vote, then added: “Now, it is time to do what Americans overwhelmingly want: abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
The statement marked an escalation from his initial, more cautious remarks. Asked whether he supported eliminating the agency during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper in June, Sanders refused to back its elimination outright, saying, “I think that what we need is to create policies which deal with immigration in a rational way. And a rational way is not locking children up in detention centers or separating them from their mothers. What we need is Trump to sit down with members of Congress and work on a rational program which deals with this serious issue.”
CUOMO TO KEEP TRUMP CAMPAIGN CASH: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is keeping the estimated $64,000 in donations he received from Trump between 2000 and 2009. “I’m going to be deeply critical of (Trump) and keep the contributions,” Cuomo said on Thursday — a decision and logic that isn’t sitting well with progressive opponents and is now at the center of a campaign blitz from Cuomo’s primary opponent, Cynthia Nixon.
The Nixon campaign is running a digital ad saying that because of the donations Cuomo “cannot serve as a defense against Donald Trump.” Nixon also released a video tying Cuomo to Trump and other real estate developers and said Friday they’d raised “$22,000 yesterday from over 700 donors” as a result. Cuomo’s team hit back on Thursday, calling Nixon’s line of attack “nothing more than a cheap distraction from a campaign gasping for air. No governor has fought harder against Donald Trump than Gov. Cuomo.”
Correction: This story has been updated to more accurately characterize Bernie Sanders’ position on ICE.