Hickenlooper swipes at Trump in campaign launch: He's 'destroying our democracy'

Hickenlooper swipes at Trump in campaign launch: He's 'destroying our democracy'
© Greg Nash

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) officially launched his 2020 presidential campaign on Thursday, taking a swipe at President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE while promoting a vision for a more unified country.

Hickenlooper, who announced his bid earlier this week, told supporters in Denver it was "essential" to defeat Trump in 2020.

He cast the president as a divisive figure with harmful policies, and pledged to move the country forward by bringing leaders together.

"We have every right to live in a land that’s the home of hope," Hickenlooper said. "But these days, that’s not how it feels in America. It feels like we’re living in a heaving crisis - years in the making - spawned by dysfunctional politics - and defined above all by this president."

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"Donald Trump is alienating our allies, ripping away our health care, endangering our planet, and destroying our democracy."

He cited Trump's "daily insults" on Twitter, saying they "range from shocking to unconscionable."

Hickenlooper also attacked the Trump administration's practice of separating migrant families, noting, "Most people would call that kidnapping."

The two-term governor argued instead for greater unity.

"This isn’t about unity for unity’s sake," he said. "America stops working when we work against each other."

If elected, Hickenlooper vowed that his first act would be to rejoin the Paris Climate on the first day of his presidency.

He laid out additional goals, including developing a "green economy" and combatting climate change, closing loopholes and increasing taxes on the wealthy and pushing for "universal, affordable" health care.

"I’m running for president because the only way to end the Trump crisis of division is with a leader who knows how to bring people together and get things done," he said.

Hickenlooper recalled his experience leading the state during damaging floods and wildfires, as well as a mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in 2012.

He further touted his administration's efforts to boost the state economy, implement Medicaid expansion and push for environmentally friendly legislation.

The 67-year-old joins a steadily growing field of presidential hopefuls vying for the Democratic nomination at a time when the party is keen to take out Trump.

Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign T.I., Charlamagne Tha God advocate for opportunity zones on Capitol Hill Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — CBO officials testify on pros and cons of 'Medicare for All' | Booker vows to form White House office on abortion rights | Measles outbreak spreads with cases now in half the country MORE (D-N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — CBO officials testify on pros and cons of 'Medicare for All' | Booker vows to form White House office on abortion rights | Measles outbreak spreads with cases now in half the country Lee, Sanders introduce bill to tax Wall Street transactions MORE (D-N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE (D-Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Anita Hill: Female 2020 Democrats 'not being taken seriously' Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (D-Minn.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersHarris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues Lee, Sanders introduce bill to tax Wall Street transactions MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE (D-Mass.) are among those who have already waded into the race.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 2020 Dems put spotlight on disabilities issues MORE is also seen as nearly certain to get into the race, while former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeCNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC Biden retains large lead over Sanders, other 2020 Dems in new Hill-HarrisX poll The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE (D-Texas) is mulling a campaign.

"I understand I’m not the first person in this race or the most well known person in this race," Hickenlooper quipped on Thursday. "But let me tell you: at 4 syllables and 12 letters, 'Hickenlooper' is now the biggest name in the race."