Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said Saturday that she plans to “take a hard look” at running for president in 2020 after the midterm elections in October, her most explicit acknowledgment yet of her national ambitions.
Warren made the statement in response to a question about a possible presidential run at a town hall event in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and she explicitly put her deliberations in the context of the searing drama playing out in Washington around the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
“This week, I watched 11 men who were too chicken to ask a woman a single question. I watched as Brett Kavanaugh acted like he was entitled to that position and angry at anyone who would question him. I watched powerful men helping a powerful man make it to an even more powerful position. I watched that, and I thought: Time’s up,” she said, according to a video posted by Warren’s Senate campaign. “It’s time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government, and that includes a woman at the top. So here’s what I promise: After Nov. 6, I will take a hard look at running for president.”
Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor whose academic and advocacy work helped pave the way for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has emerged as a fierce and persistent critic of President Donald Trump – one who has shown a special ability to win Trump’s withering attention. Since the middle of his presidential campaign in 2016, Trump has frequently called Warren “Pocahontas,” a mocking reference to Warren’s disputed claims of Native American ancestry. He did so again at a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, on Saturday night.
In a speech widely interpreted as a prelude to a presidential run, Warren addressed the “Pocahontas” controversy head-on in a February speech where she delved into her family history and defended her claims of Native American ancestry while acknowledging she is not an official member of any tribe. The Boston Globe published an investigation earlier this month that found no evidence that those claims played a role in her rise to prominence at Harvard or her hiring at other law schools where she taught.
Warren’s announcement – and her willingness to connect a potential run to the broader #MeToo feminist movement that has upended business, media and government institutions – stands to further stoke speculation about how the marathon race to choose a 2020 Democratic nominee will play out. Warren is among the most liberal Democratic senators, and while she has made her political reputation on economic-fairness issues, she has ventured as a senator into other fights.
“I think we can do it,” she said, as the crowd of more than 500 wildly cheered the announcement. “I think we can turn this country around.”
Warren has long been considered among the most likely Democrats to seek the presidency against Trump, along with fellow Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Former vice president Joe Biden has not ruled out a run, and several current and former Democratic governors could also enter a scramble that is expected to begin in earnest shortly after the midterms. One Democratic lawmaker, Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, has already launched a long-shot presidential run on a centrist message of bipartisan cooperation.
Before saying she would consider a presidential run, Warren urged the audience not to look past the elections being held in less than six weeks. She is running for a second Senate term against Republican Geoff Diehl and independent Shiva Ayyadurai in a race where she is heavily favored.
“We cannot be a party, we cannot be a people that focuses only on what happens once every four years,” she said. “These midterms matter.”