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United States

Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, a left-wing firebrand critic of Donald Trump, announces 2020 US presidential bid

  • Elizabeth Warren tweeted that she was ‘launching an exploratory committee to run for president’
  • Warren took a DNA test in October that proved she had Native American ancestry, after Donald Trump regularly derided her as ‘Pocahontas’
PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 December, 2018, 10:24pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2019, 2:56am

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, a liberal firebrand and Wall Street antagonist, took the first step toward a 2020 White House run on Monday, becoming the most prominent Democrat to announce a challenge to Republican President Donald Trump.

Warren said she had formed an exploratory committee, which will allow her to begin raising campaign funding as part of what is expected to be a crowded Democratic field before the November 2020 presidential election.

Warren, 69, who became a senator from Massachusetts in 2013, has frequently clashed with Trump, who has cast aspersions on Warren’s claim to Native American ancestry and mockingly referred to her as “Pocahontas.”

Warren released a video in which she outlines her vision of a path to opportunity for all Americans, not just the wealthy.

“Every person in America should be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules, & take care of themselves & the people they love,” she said in a Twitter post.

“That’s what I’m fighting for, & that’s why I’m launching an exploratory committee for president. I need you with me.”

Warren said in September she would take a “hard look” at running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Trump in 2020.

Mocked by Trump as ‘Pocahontas’, US Senator Warren releases DNA result

The former Harvard Law School professor campaigned with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 and attacked Trump as an “insecure money grubber” driven by greed and hate.

Earlier this month, Julian Castro, 44, who was mayor of San Antonio and secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under Democratic President Barack Obama, said he was forming an exploratory committee and would announce his intentions on January 12.

In 2017, former Democratic congressman John Delaney of Maryland said he would seek the party’s nomination.

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Warren has been a strong voice in the US Senate on financial issues and a self-described defender of the ordinary American against powerful interests.

Following the 2007-2009 global financial crisis, she emerged as a leading critic of Wall Street and continues to advocate for stiffer regulation and oversight, including reinstating a rule that would separate banks’ retail business from their riskier investment banking activities.

Warren, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, has vigorously fought the Trump administration’s efforts to weaken post-crisis financial rules, going as far as to attack moderate Democrats who backed a May rewrite of the 2010 Dodd-Frank reform law.

In a September interview marking 10 years since the financial crisis, Warren was asked about wanting to break up big banks. “Oh yeah,” she told The New York Times. “Give me a chance.”

She also has opposed the administration’s efforts to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency she helped create, and has pressed the Federal Reserve to take a tough line on scandal-hit lender Wells Fargo.

In October, Warren released a DNA analysis she said supported her assertion that she had Native American lineage that goes back six to 10 generations.

Trump, who had promised US$1 million to her favourite charity if she took a DNA test that showed she had Native American blood, greeted the results with a shrug, saying, “Who cares?”

Trump’s use of the name Pocahontas refers to a 17th century Native American woman associated with the British colony in Jamestown, Virginia, and was aimed at drawing attention to a controversy over Warren’s heritage raised during her 2012 Senate race.

Trump’s mocking reference has drawn criticism from some Native American groups while others criticised Warren for trying to lay claim to a tribal nation.

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The website announcing Warren’s exploratory committee portrays her as a product of the American dream that has slipped out of reach for too many Americans.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” Warren says on the website’s video. “How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.”