Elizabeth Warren on Principles & Values
Massachusetts Senator; former head of CFPB; Dem. Presidential Challenger
WARREN: My motto is Mathew 25, and that is, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of these, the least of thy brethren, ye have done it unto me." For me this is about how we treat other people and how we lift them up. That is why I am in this fight. That is why I am running to be president, and it is why I will be an effective president.
WARREN: Of course I will.
WARREN: The obvious answer is to say, "First, read the Mueller report, all 442 pages of it." That showed how the president tried to obstruct justice, and when Congress failed to act at that moment, and that the president felt free to break the law again and again and again. And that's what's happened with Ukraine. We have to establish the principle: no one is above the law. We have a constitutional responsibility, and we need to meet it. But I want to add:
V.P Joe BIDEN: Because I've watched it, I know what the job is. One of the reasons I'm running is because of my age and my experience. With it, comes wisdom.
Q [to WARREN]: You would be the oldest president ever inaugurated on a first term. You'll be 71. 40% of Democratic primary vot think a candidate under the age of 70 is more likely to defeat President Trump. What do you say to them?
WARREN: I say I will out-work, out-organize and outlast anyone, and that includes Donald Trump, Mike Pence, or whoever the Republicans get stuck with. Democrats will win when we fight for the things that touch people's lives, things like childcare and healthcare and housing costs, Democrats will win when we give people a reason to get in the fight.
"Bernie has to speak to what Democratic Socialism is," replied Warren. The interview asked, "And you are not one?"
"I am not. And the centrists have to speak to whatever they are doing. What I can speak is to is how I am doing," Warren said.
She continued: "All I can tell you is what I believe. And that is there is an enormous amount to be gained from markets. That markets create opportunities. Markets have to have rules. They have to have a cop on the beat," she said, adding that "markets without rules are theft."
Think how often you've heard these words used about women who lead: angry, strident, feisty, difficult, irritable, bossy, brassy, emotional, abrasive, high-maintenance, ambitious. The linguist George Lakoff both identified this problem and embodied it when he said about Senator Elizabeth Warren, "Elizabeth has a problem. She is shrill, and there is a prejudice against shrill women."
I know it sounds nuts. How could I have said yes? I was halfway to graduation and my teaching certificate. But I didn't hesitate to drop out of college and marry Jim.
For 19 years I had absorbed the lesson that the best and the most important thing any girl could do was "marry well." And for 19 years I had also absorbed the message that I was a pretty iffy case--not very pretty, not very flirty, and definitely not very good at making boys feel like they were smarter than I was. So when Jim popped the question, I was so shocked that it took me about a nanosecond to say yes.
I was going to get to be a wife & mother, after all. I was walking on air. And that whole plan to go to college and teach? My mother had predicted that it would go away, and now I supposed she was right. I finished up my degree with correspondence courses.
We believe in that America. That is the America we fight for.
We believe, but we are worried--worried that those opportunities are slipping away. In fact, a lot of America is worried--worried and angry. Angry that far too often Washington works for those at the top and leaves everyone else behind.
I laid it out as best I could. This is about our values, I said, about the things we believe in, the reasons we get up every day and work as hard as we can. About debt-free college and expanded Social Security. About science and climate change. About our capacity to invest together to create something better.
We believe that millionaires and billionaires and giant corporations should not be able to buy our elections and our politicians. Corporations are not people.
Who benefits? I'll tell you exactly who benefits: When we turn on each other, bankers can run our economy for Wall Street. When we spend our energy attacking immigrants, oil companies can fight off clean energy. When we argue over who got more crumbs of food stamps, giant corporations can ship the last good jobs overseas. When we turn on each other, rich guys can push through more tax breaks for themselves.
We've also got to be prepared to lose some battles. Without control of Congress or the White House, we will often come up short. We simply don't have the tools and the weapons to win every time. But that doesn't mean we are powerless. It doesn't mean we should not fight back.
To rebuild an economy that works for everyone--we need to be clear about our values. We need, in other words, to be clear about our core principles.
We stand up and we fight back--and we do so on a very personal level. We start with clarity about the principle we are fighting for: everybody counts and everybody gets a chance to build something. Or to say it another way: America must be a country that respects every human being and that builds opportunity not just for some of us, but for all of us. We fight for a country we can believe in.
Collective action begins with individual action, and each of us must find our own way to speak up.
Our country's future is not determined by some law of physics. It's not determined by some preordained path. It's not even determined by Donald Trump. Our country's future is up to us. We can let the great American promise die or we can fight back. Me? I'm fighting back.
This fight is our fight.
WARREN: I think it's four [years]..
Q: What drew you to the GOP and why did you leave?.
WARREN: I was originally an independent. I was with the GOP for a while because I really thought that it was a party that was principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets. And I feel like the GOP party just left that. That they moved to a party that said, no, it's not about a level playing field, it's now about a field that has gotten tilted. And they really stood up for the big financial institutions when the big financial institutions are just hammering middle class American families. You know, I just feel like that's a party that moved way, way away.
Reverend Culpepper at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church offered me wise counsel: Be still and listen. Have faith. Let people know your heart. As the campaign progressed, I found myself thinking about Reverend Culpepper's words time and again.
I carried my King James Bible to services, the same one I'd carried since 4th grade. Sometimes the pastor called on me to speak. I'd never spoken to a whole congregation. But I talked about my favorite Bible verse, Matthew 25:40. Its message was very simple: The Lord calls us to action. It's what we DO that matters most.
[Matthew 25:40 "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."]
When I decided to run for the Senate in 2012, I never thought that my family's Native American heritage would come under attack and my dead parents would be called liars. I never expected my academic career to become the stuff of right-wing conspiracy theories. And I never expected the President of the United States to use my family's story as a racist political joke against Native American history, culture, and people--over, and over, and over.
I took the extra step and did a DNA test. It contains Native American ancestry. The first Native American in our family that can be proved is generations back, and there could be others. No matter. It's my family, and--like it or not Donald Trump--my family's stories are supported by this test.
"The Globe found clear evidence that her claim to Native American ethnicity was never considered by the Harvard Law faculty, which voted resoundingly to hire her, or by those who hired her to four prior positions at other law schools. At every step of her remarkable rise in the legal profession, the people responsible for hiring her saw her as a white woman."
I'm not afraid of the facts, so today we're launching a new Fact Squad website for anyone who wants see the facts for themselves: http://www.elizabethwarren.com/heritage
This new website has more than you'd ever want to know: It has personnel files. It has interviews with the people who hired me, and my own family members.
"At the same time she claims she is so outraged, her campaign is sending out fundraising emails using the term 'Pocahontas,'" Republican state Rep. Geoff Diehl said. Trump again used Pocahontas to refer to Warren during a recent White House event honoring Navajo Code Talkers. Later that day, Warren emailed supporters referencing the comment and soliciting campaign donations.
Warren has said she never relied on her Native American heritage to gain any advantage. In a 2012 interview with the AP, Warren said she was told her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware. "I never used it to get anything. I didn't use it to get a job. I didn't use it to get into school," she said Monday. "The people who have hired me have made that clear."
Republicans also accused me of using my background to get ahead, but that simply wasn't true. It wasn't a question of whether I COULD have sought advantage--I just didn't. I never asked for special treatment when I applied to college, to law school, or for jobs. As the story broke and people dug through my background, every place that hired me backed that up 100%--including the Harvard hiring committee. Harvard told the media they didn't know about my background when they hired me; they offered me a job because they thought I was a good law professor. Period.
But the facts didn't slow the Republicans down, and their attacks continued. Right-wing blogs took to calling me "Fauxcahontas."
Warren said that her parents told her growing up that her mother was part Cherokee and part Delaware Indian and that as a child she never questioned that story. Warren also said those who hired her during her law school career had said they were either unaware of her background or that it played no role in their decision to hire her. "This is about family. I can't and I won't change who I am," she said.
Some members of Warren's extended family had also heard stories of Native American blood in the family, but others had not.
Brown challenged Warren to release her personnel records to prove that her claim of Native American heritage had played no role in her getting jobs. Warren pointed to the fact that Prof. Charles Fried, a Republican, who sat on the committee that recruited Warren for her Harvard job, said that he was unaware of her ancestry when she was hired. "There's nothing else there. The question has been asked and answered. I think the senator just doesn't like the answer," Warren said
BROWN: I think character is important. Professor Warren claimed she was a Native American, a person of color. And as you can see, she's not.
WARREN: When I was growing up, these were the stories I knew about my heritage. When [my parents] wanted to get married, my father's family said no because my mother was part Delaware and part Cherokee. This is my family, this is who I am, and it's not going to change.
Her opponents question whether Warren chose this heritage to gain advantages available to Indians and other underrepresented groups in academia. Warren has been adamant that she did not seek any advantage from Native American heritage. Records show that she declined to apply for admission to Rutgers Law School under a minority student program and identified her race as "White" on an employment record at the University of Texas.
Press Release from 9 Senators: [Cory Booker and 13 co-sponsors] introduced legislation that would block a registry of people based on their religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, or nationality. "Religious freedom and freedom from discrimination are fundamental rights central to the very idea of being an American," Sen. Booker said. "Forcing people to sign up for a registry based on their religion, race, or national origin does nothing to keep America secure. It does, however, undermine the freedom of religion guaranteed by our Constitution and promote the false notion that people of certain faiths and nationalities are inherently suspect. Our legislation would block Donald Trump and subsequent administrations from infringing on religious liberty by creating an immigration-related religious registry."
National origin-based immigration registry systems have proven ineffective at combatting terrorism and strengthening national security, but effective at instilling fear in certain communities. The George W. Bush-era National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), registered over 83,000 individuals from 24 Muslim-majority countries, but yielded zero terrorism convictions.
Opposing argument: (GovTrack.us's analysis of S.54): President Trump pledged during his campaign to institute a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration and Syrian refugees "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." He made good on much of that promise with an executive order suspending America's refugee admission program for 120 days and banning all entry from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days. Trump has defended a Muslim registry as necessary to national security. "They have to be [registered]. It's all about management. Our country has no management," he said when first proposing the idea in 2015. Trump reiterated his plans as president-elect in December.
Excerpts from Letter from 17 Senators to Trump Organization: The Trump Organization's continuing financial relationship with President Trump raises concerns about whether it is a pass-through for income that violates the Constitution's two Emoluments Clauses: Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 on foreign Emoluments; and Article II, Clause 7 on domestic Emoluments. Please answer the following questions to help Congress understand:
Legal Analysis: (Cato Institute, "Emoluments Clause vs. Trump Empire," 11/29/16): The wording of the Emoluments clause points one way to resolution: Congress can give consent, as it did in the early years of the Republic to presents received by Ben Franklin. It can decide what it is willing to live with in the way of Trump conflicts. If it misjudges public opinion, it will pay a political price at the next election.
FOIA argument: (ACLU Center for Democracy, "FOIA Request," 1/19/17): We filed our first Freedom of Information Act request of the Trump Era, seeking documents relating President Trump's conflicts of interest relating to his business connections. When Trump took the oath of office, he didn't take the steps necessary to ensure that he and his family's business interests comply with the Constitution. Some have even argued that upon taking the oath of office, the new president is already violating the Emoluments Clause.
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Senate races 2019-20:
AK: Sullivan(R,incumbent) vs.Gross(I)
AL: Jones(D,incumbent) vs.Sessions(R) vs.Moore(R) vs.Mooney(R) vs.
AR: Cotton(R,incumbent) vs.
AZ: McSally(R,incumbent) vs.Kelly(D)
CO: Gardner(R,incumbent) vs.Hickenlooper(D) vs.
DE: Coons(D,incumbent) vs.Scarane(D)
GA-2: Isakson(R,resigned) Loeffler(R,appointed) vs.Lieberman(D) vs.Collins(R) vs.Carter(D)
GA-6: Perdue(R,incumbent) vs.Tomlinson(D) vs.Ossoff(D) vs.Terry(D)
IA: Ernst(R,incumbent) vs.Graham(D) vs.Mauro(D) vs.Greenfield(D)
ID: Risch(R,incumbent) vs.Harris(D) vs.Jordan(D)
IL: Durbin(D,incumbent) vs.Curran(R) vs.
KS: Roberts(R,retiring) vs.
KY: McConnell(R,incumbent) vs.McGrath(D) vs.Morgan(R) vs.Cox(D) vs.Tobin(D)
LA: Cassidy(R,incumbent) vs.Pierce(D)
MA: Markey(D,incumbent) vs.
ME: Collins(R,incumbent) vs.Sweet(D) vs.Gideon(D) vs.
MI: Peters(D,incumbent) vs.James(R)
MN: Smith(D,incumbent) vs.
MS: Hyde-Smith(R,incumbent) vs.Espy(D) vs.Bohren(D)
MT: Daines(R,incumbent) vs.Collins(D) vs.Bullock(D)
NC: Tillis(R,incumbent) vs.E.Smith(D) vs.S.Smith(R) vs.Cunningham(D) vs.Tucker(R) vs.
NE: Sasse(R,incumbent) vs.Janicek(R)
NH: Shaheen(D,incumbent) vs.Martin(D) vs.Bolduc(R) vs.O'Brien(f)
NJ: Booker(D,incumbent) vs.Singh(R) vs.Meissner(R)
NM: Udall(D,retiring) vs.Clarkson(R) vs.
OK: Inhofe(R,incumbent) vs.Workman(D)
OR: Merkley(D,incumbent) vs.Romero(R)
RI: Reed(D,incumbent) vs.Waters(R)
SC: Graham(R,incumbent) vs.Tinubu(D) vs.Harrison(D)
SD: Rounds(R,incumbent) vs.Borglum(R) vs.Ahlers(D)
TN: Alexander(R,incumbent) vs.Sethi(R) vs.Mackler(D) vs.Hagerty(R)
TX: Cornyn(R,incumbent) vs.Hegar(D) vs.Hernandez(D) vs.Bell(D) vs.Ramirez(D) vs.West(D)
VA: Warner(D,incumbent) vs.
WV: Capito(R,incumbent) vs.Swearengin(D) vs.Ojeda(D)
WY: Enzi(R,incumbent) vs.Ludwig(D) vs.Lummis(R)
Senate Votes (analysis)