Jun 28, 2019

Debate night: Democrats come out swinging at Trump

Top Democratic candidates attacked President Trump early during the second Democratic primary debate on Thursday, targeting him for passing a tax cut that benefitted the wealthy and for attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Why it matters: With 52 mentions of Trump, the second debate saw a markedly different tone than the ones candidates struck at the first debate on Wednesday. The 10 candidates on Wednesday mentioned Trump a total of 35 times, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who is polling highest among that group — failing to mention the president a single time.

What they're saying:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.): "Trump is a pathological liar and a racist and that he lied to the American people during his campaign. He said he was going to stand up for working families. Well, President Trump, you are not standing up for working families when you try to throw 32 million people off their health care."
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: "Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America...Look, Donald Trump put us in a horrible situation. We do have enormous income inequality. The one thing I agree on is we can make massive cuts in the $1.6 billion in tax loopholes and I would be going about eliminating Donald Trump's tax cut for the wealthy."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Cali.): "I hear that question, but where was that question when the Republicans and Donald Trump passed a tax bill that benefits the top 1% and the biggest cover corporations contributing to the debt of America which middle class families will pay for one way or another."

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

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