Dems seek to one-up each other with Trump attacks

Dems seek to one-up each other with Trump attacks
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Democratic lawmakers considering a presidential run in 2020 are sharpening their attacks on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' MORE as they compete over who can land the toughest blows.  

In tweets and speeches in recent days, would-be Democratic candidates including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report Ocasio-Cortez returns to 'The Late Show' on Monday Ocasio-Cortez's first House floor speech becomes C-SPAN's most-viewed Twitter video MORE (Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandKamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report Dem voters split on importance of women atop the ticket in 2020 Gillibrand touted work to hasten 'removal of illegal aliens' in 2008 mailer: report MORE (N.Y.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report Dem voters split on importance of women atop the ticket in 2020 Elizabeth Warren heading to Puerto Rico next week MORE (Mass.) have all slapped Trump in a series of tweets and speeches, oftentimes name-checking him. 

“I think they’re trying to out-Trump Trump while trying to out-Trump each other,” said one Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential campaigns and has noticed the uptick in anti-Trump rhetoric. “It’s open season on who can jab the hardest and best.”


It’s an effort to rally a Democratic base at wit’s end with Trump amid the controversy on family separations, the Supreme Court pick that some progressives fear could overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and ongoing concerns about the president dismantling Obama-era policies. 

The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, a frequent swing vote on the Supreme Court, has only intensified passions and rhetoric on the left, signaling what is likely to become the most negative presidential campaign season yet. 

That many Democrats think Trump is vulnerable given the enthusiasm of the Democratic base is another factor. A number of Democrats feel confident they can defeat him in a general election, despite the repeated reminders from Trump allies of how his opponents repeatedly underestimate him.

“Everybody sees this as the jackpot,” said Tobe Berkovitz, a communications professor at Boston University who served as a political media consultant. “Donald Trump is the man they love to hate and because of that, everybody ramps up the strategy of who can hate him the most.” 

Harris took to Twitter this week to warn her followers about Trump’s intention to nominate someone who will overturn Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court. 

“What this is really about is punishing women for wanting to control their bodies, their lives, and their futures,” she wrote.  

In a tweet that went viral last weekend with more than 65,000 likes on Twitter, Harris also wrote, “Years from now, people will ask us where we were in this moment. We don’t want the answer to be how we felt. We want the answer to be what we did.” 

On her Twitter account, Warren name-checked Trump a couple of times this week. 

She said Trump’s short list of Supreme Court nominees “was hand-picked by right-wing extremists who want to criminalize abortions,” adding that that’s “#whatsatstake here.”  

She also urged supporters to join her at a Families Belong Together march, adding “We’ll show @realDonaldTrump that the power is with the people.” 

Gillibrand also weighed in on the family separation issue and the Supreme Court issue, urging her supporters to “take @realdonaldtrump at his word.” 

But in her most popular tweet this week, she wrote: “I know how hard things feel now, but we’ve faced challenges before and have overcome them. If you keep fighting for justice, we will win. If you do the work and keep believing, we will win.” 

Late last month, Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersKamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report Sen. Casey says he won't run for president in 2020 Women's March plans 'Medicare for All' day of lobbying in DC MORE (I-Vt.) also took to Twitter to call out the president.

"Trump's pathological dishonesty is undermining American democracy, is setting a terrible example for our children and is isolating us from our democratic allies around the world," Sanders wrote.

Democratic strategist Jim Manley said it’s appropriate for potential candidates to take a more aggressive stance against Trump. 

“Trying to stay above the fray is no longer an option,” he said  

In past cycles, opponents often preferred more veiled swipes until the final stretch of the campaign. Manley and other political strategists expect a slugfest from the beginning this time. 

“Anyone thinking of running needs to recalibrate,” Manley said. “Putting your head in the sand isn’t the smart way to go.” 

Trump, not surprisingly, isn’t letting his opponents go unanswered. The White House directly targeted Harris and Warren earlier this week on Twitter. 

.@SenKamalaHarris, why are you supporting the animals of MS-13? You must not know what ICE really does,” the White House’s Twitter account tweeted on Monday afternoon. It included a link to Immigration and Customs Enforcement's website “to help you out.”  

The White House account tweeted the same message to Warren. 

Harris immediately pounced on the White House tweet by emailing fundraisers. 

“A few moments ago, this White House used its official, taxpayer-funded Twitter account to launch a completely false attack on me,” the email reads before asking for “$10 or more right now to help us fight back.” 

She also responded to Trump on Twitter. 

“As a career prosecutor, I actually went after gangs and transnational criminal organizations. That’s being a leader on public safety. What is not, is ripping babies from their mothers,” Harris, the former California attorney general, wrote. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, in a sign of the competition already gripping Democrats, a source close to Harris noted that Warren had not yet responded to Trump.