Warren launches White House bid with call for 'structural change'

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKrystal Ball: Elites have chosen Warren as The One; Lauren Claffey: Is AOC wrong about the Electoral College? Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster MORE (D-Mass.) has officially kicked off her 2020 bid for the White House, joining a Democratic primary field that promises to be among the largest and most diverse in the party’s history.

Warren quickly took aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE in her announcement speech Saturday in Lawrence, Mass., accusing the administration of being "the most corrupt in living memory" and lacking "a conscience" with its immigration policies.

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She also portrayed herself as a fighter willing to pursue large-scale reform, saying, "It won’t be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration. We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges – a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change."

"This is the fight of our lives. The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone. I am in that fight all the way," she said in the roughly 40-minute speech, sporting a scarf but not gloves on a brisk 30-degree day.

The announcement at the event in her home state of Massachusetts came more than a month after Warren formed an exploratory committee that allowed her to begin raising money for a presidential campaign. Since then, she has crisscrossed early primary states and hired staffers to lay the framework for a campaign.

Introducing Warren at her event on Saturday was Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment House passes annual intelligence bill MORE III (D-Mass.), a rising star in the Democratic Party and an heir to the Kennedy political dynasty who is one of the first high-profile lawmakers to endorse Warren for the presidency. She was also joined by her fellow home-state Senate colleague Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (D-Mass.).

“I’m here with you today because this country – our country – needs a leader who will restore the solidarity that Donald Trump stole, who will not cower from the big tough battles, the ugly injustice and oppression that still finds its way to American soil,” Kennedy said.

“That leader is a colleague, a mentor and a friend,” he continued. “That leader is the next president of the United States. That leader is Elizabeth Warren.”

The location of Warren’s announcement was significant in itself. Lawrence was the site of the “Bread and Roses” strike of textile workers in 1912, considered a landmark moment for labor in the U.S.

Dominating Warren’s message on Saturday were themes that have characterized much of the nascent presidential candidate’s career. She railed against special interests and Wall Street and called for higher wages for workers.

"End the corruption. We all know the Trump administration is the most corrupt in living memory. But even after Trump is gone, it won’t be enough to do a better job of running a broken system. We need to take power in Washington away from the wealthy and well-connected and put it back in the hands of the people where it belongs," she said.

Also interspersed throughout her announcement speech were acknowledgements of pervasive racial inequality in U.S. economic security.

“I’ve spent most of my life studying what happens to families like mine, families caught in the squeeze, families that go broke,” she said. “And what I found was that year after year, the path to economic security had gotten tougher and rockier for working families, and even tougher and even rockier for people of color."

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She also decried "bigotry" emerging from the White House, saying, "Whether it’s white people against black people, straight people against gay people, middle-class families against new immigrant families – the story is the same. The rich and powerful use fear to divide us."

"We’re done with that. Bigotry has no place in the Oval Office," she declared.

Warren’s speech, at times, echoed the campaign messages of former President Obama, who pushed themes of “hope” and “change,” and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE (I-Vt.), whose insurgent 2016 White House bid hinged on criticisms of corporate interests in politics and rising economic inequality.

Warren was set to travel to New Hampshire later Saturday for the first stop of a six-state campaign swing that will also include visits to Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia and California.

While there was little, if any, doubt that Warren would move forward with a formal presidential bid after launching her exploratory committee on New Year’s Eve, her first month on the campaign trail was not without turbulence.

The Massachusetts Democrat has faced questions about her past claims of Native American ancestry and her decision last year to release the results of a DNA test intended to prove her claims drew criticism from Native American groups.

That issue resurfaced this week after The Washington Post published a copy of Warren’s 1986 registration card for the State Bar of Texas on which she identified her ethnicity as “American Indian.”

The Democratic senator apologized for her past ancestry claims after the report Wednesday, clarifying that she is not a member of any tribe and had instead relied on family stories growing up as the basis for claiming Native American heritage.

Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, took a swipe at Warren on Saturday minutes before her announcement, accusing her of using her past ancestry claims to further her legal career.

"Elizabeth Warren has already been exposed as a fraud by the Native Americans she impersonated and disrespected to advance her professional career, and the people of Massachusetts she deceived to get elected,” Parscale said in a statement.

Likewise, the Republican National Committee (RNC), wasted no time in rebuking Warren on Saturday, decrying her policy proposals as “socialist” and insisting that her past ancestry claims had eroded her support.

“We’ve always known that Elizabeth Warren’s socialist policies were far outside the mainstream,” Michael Ahrens, a spokesperson for the RNC, said in a statement. “But Warren’s disastrous handling of her false minority claims and her refusal to apologize until now has everyone, including her own supporters, cringing at her campaign.”

A review last year by The Boston Globe of documents pertaining to Warren’s legal career showed that ethnicity was not taken into account as she landed jobs at several universities, including the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University.

Warren, a former law professor who has built a reputation as a fierce critic of Wall Street and the financial services industry, first entered the Senate in 2013 after defeating incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).

She quickly defined herself as a progressive firebrand, especially through her position on the Senate Banking Committee. Since then, she has found herself among a handful of politicians floated as possible presidential candidates.

In mounting a White House bid, Warren will have to vie against a crowded field of Democratic contenders, including several of her Senate colleagues. So far, Democratic Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: Two US service members killed in Afghanistan | Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS | Pentagon scraps billion-dollar missile defense program Sanders targets gig economy as part of new labor plan Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Rising Warren faces uphill climb with black voters Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Defense: Two US service members killed in Afghanistan | Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS | Pentagon scraps billion-dollar missile defense program ABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate Sanders targets gig economy as part of new labor plan MORE (N.J.) have announced campaigns of their own.

Other political giants, like former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Giuliani says he discussed Biden with Ukrainian official MORE and Sanders, are said to be nearing campaign announcements as well.

Updated at 1:05 p.m.