The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats challenge Trump's response to El Paso

The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats challenge Trump's response to El Paso

Welcome to The Hill's Campaign Report, your weekly rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We're Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley, and here's what we're watching this week on the campaign trail. 



The contrast was remarkable. 

Just as the Democratic presidential field ended a week that showcased the ideological and political divisions within their party, the candidates rallied around a common message: President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE's rhetoric had not only emboldened white nationalists, but had given extremists license to commit acts of violence.

That show of unity came after a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, a city along the U.S.-Mexico border with a majority Hispanic population. Authorities allege that the suspect posted a manifesto online that contained anti-immigrant sentiments and warned of a "Hispanic invasion of Texas" before he carried out Saturday's shooting.


The attack was roundly condemned by politicians on both sides of the aisle. But Democrats also placed blame on Trump, saying that his use of anti-immigrant rhetoric and past reluctance to condemn racist ideologies has bred a political climate in which right-wing extremists feel empowered.

"We have a problem with this rising tide of white supremacy in America and we have a president who encourages it and emboldens it," former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE, the Democratic primary contest's ostensible front-runner, said during a stop in Burlington, Iowa on Wednesday.

In televised remarks on Monday, Trump condemned "racism, bigotry and white supremacy." But critics dismissed his words as insincere, arguing that his past actions and rhetoric said more about his beliefs than a scripted address.

"He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists. He's done the wink and a nod," Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (D-Mass.) said during a campaign swing in Council Bluffs, Iowa. "He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He's done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country."

The condemnations of Trump's behavior were accompanied by a slew of proposals from the Democratic candidates to combat extremist ideologies, gun violence and domestic terrorism. 

The united tone employed by the candidates this week stood in stark contrast to the bitter intraparty brawl that erupted last week during the second round of Democratic primary debates. Over the course of two nights, the candidates sparred over health care, immigration and even the legacy of former President Obama – clashes that raised questions about whether the party would be able to overcome internal divisions ahead of 2020.

Of course, the ceasefire may only be temporary. The next round of debates is a little more than a month away, and most candidates are eager for a breakout moment that will either jump-start or extend their momentum. For now at least, the conversation appears focused on what Democrats say is their foremost goal: defeating Trump.



Biden: White supremacists winning the battle for the soul of the U.S., from The Hill's Julia Manchester.

Mass shootings test power of an NRA in turmoil, via The Hill's Scott Wong and Mike Lillis.

Democrats aren't buying Trump's condemnation of white supremacy, writes The Hill's Niall Stanage.

Trump campaign has used 'invasion' in thousands of Facebook ads, from The Hill's Max Greenwood.



Texas may be facing a moment of reckoning. For years, Republicans have maintained a tight grip on power in the Lone Star State. But mounting tensions of racially motivated rhetoric, a polarizing president, shifting political coalitions and a flood of new residents from bluer states may be pushing the state toward a tipping point, The Hill's Reid Wilson reports. 


Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, resigned his post on Tuesday, The Hill's Jessica Campisi reports. He's planning to move back to his home state of Utah amid speculation that he's weighing another run for governor (Huntsman previously served as the state's chief executive from 2005 until 2009). 


Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke clarifies remarks, leaves door open to gubernatorial bid O'Rourke says he's not planning on run for Texas governor O'Rourke slams Cruz for video of border visit MORE is back at the center of the national stage, but in the most tragic circumstances imaginable after a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in the former congressman's hometown of El Paso on Saturday. The Hill's Amie Parnes reports.


After calling for a ban on sanctuary cities in 2007, Joe Biden's current position is unclear, as the Obama administration's legacy on immigration becomes a pressure point for the former vice president in the Democratic presidential primary, The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports. Separately, Biden told supporters in Iowa on Thursday that "poor kids" are "just as talented as white kids" before correcting himself and saying "wealthy kids" while speaking at a campaign event in Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register.


Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden's policies are playing into Trump's hands Hillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions MORE (I) is expressing frustration with the Democratic presidential primary debates, saying that the spectacle of 20 candidates agitating for time plays to their worst instincts and is "demeaning" to the field of contenders, according to The Hill's Jonathan Easley.


Ahead of a big weekend in Iowa, Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have rolled out new plans to invest in farm and rural economies. Meanwhile, Democrats are giving the cold shoulder to Warren's wealth tax, writes The Hill's Niv Elis. 


Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report How Kamala Harris can find the solution for the migration crisis MORE (D-Calif.) and Cory BookerCory BookerThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally Top Democrat calling for expansion of child care support When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, what's a moderate Democrat to do? MORE (D-N.J.) are facing scrutiny for having appeared with a Las Vegas pastor who has described homsexuality as a sin, The Hill's Julia Manchester reports. 



Bill Clinton: Reinstate the assault weapons ban now.

Alexia Fernandez Campbell: ICE raids expose the biggest problem with US immigration laws.

Andrew Sullivan: The U.S. is in ruins.

Barbara McQuade: Trump is a leader for white nationalists.

Kyle Smith: Trump's speech against white nationalism deserves praise.

Sean Trende: Republicans should be worried about losing Texas.

Rahm Emanuel: Democrats should not turn against Obama.



QUINNIPIAC: Warren appears to be cutting into Biden's lead. Quinnipiac's latest national poll shows the Massachusetts senator with 21 percent support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters – a 5-point increase since a similar poll was conducted last month. Biden, meanwhile, dropped 2 points, finishing with 32 percent, The Hill's Max Greenwood reports.


SUFFOLK/BOSTON GLOBE: Sanders and Warren are closing in on Biden in New Hampshire, finishing in second and third place, respectively. Sanders came in with 17 percent support while Warren notched 14 percent, picking up 5 points and 6 points, respectively, over the same poll from April, The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports.


MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY: Biden remains the front-runner in Iowa, notching 28 percent support among likely Democratic caucusgoers. But Warren is now polling in second place with 19 percent support, a significant gain from the 7 percent she carried in a similar survey conducted in April, The Hill's Max Greenwood reports.



The divide over health care among Democratic presidential candidates is raising fears the party might turn an issue that was a key winner in the House midterms into a liability in next year's Senate races, The Hill's Jessie Hellmann reports.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies are embracing a fight with the media and Twitter that has struck a nerve among Republicans, The Hill's Jordain Carney reports.


Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew York City's suicide mission should alarm the entire nation Marjorie Taylor Greene rakes in over .2M in first quarter The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan MORE (D-N.Y.) dishes on her relationship with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House races clock to beat GOP attacks Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Liz Cheney says allegations against Gaetz are 'sickening,' refuses to say if he should resign MORE (D-Calif.) and about her controversial chief of staff, who recently departed, in this interview with the New York Daily News.


This week the Justice Democrats, a group with close ties to Ocasio-Cortez, endorsed two more primary challengers to sitting Democratic lawmakers, The Hill's Rachel Frazin reports.


For the first time since the 1970s, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in Orange County, Calif., known as "Reagan Country," CBS Los Angeles reports. Democrats flipped four House seats there in 2018.



Trump is headlining a pricey fundraiser in the Hamptons this weekend, The Washington Post reports. Top donors and fundraisers are taking heat for their participation, including top officials at companies such as Equinox, SoulCycle and the Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, House Republican leaders and Trump's campaign lashed out at Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDemocrats ask Biden to reverse employee policy on past marijuana use The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's next act: Massive infrastructure plan with tax hikes Blinken to appear before Foreign Affairs Committee MORE (D-Texas), the brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, for tweeting out the names and business interests of dozens of donors to the Trump reelection campaign.


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is the first top tier presidential candidate to put money behind a national TV advertisement, spending six figures on a new TV ad coupled with a digital buy in Iowa ahead of her weekend trip there. The ad is biographical, but it also touts her "3 a.m. agenda." Watch it HERE.


The Trump campaign placed more than 2,000 Facebook ads between January and May invoking the idea of an "invasion" at the U.S. southern border, an analysis of the social media site's ad archive by The Hill's Max Greenwood found. None of those ads are currently active. But they show how Trump's political team has used rhetoric that critics say is racist and xenophobic to drum up political support. 


New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York City's suicide mission should alarm the entire nation How education entitlements can worsen racial disparities Five states account for nearly 44 percent of new US COVID-19 cases MORE accepted roughly $234,000 in additional contributions from 37 donors through a federal and state PAC he formed in 2018. Those donors had already given $2,800 – the maximum contribution limit under federal law – to his primary campaign, Politico's Joe Anuta and Sally Goldenburg report. That arrangement has already prompted formal complaints to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). 




Here's the lineup for the Des Moines Register Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair:


5 p.m. CDT: 21 Democratic presidential candidates will speak at the Iowa Democratic Party's Wing Ding Dinner in Clear Lake, Iowa.



The Des Moines Register Soapbox (cont.):


7 a.m. CDT: Everytown for Gun Safety holds a Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines.



The Des Moines Register Soapbox (cont.):



IOWA STATE FAIR: Democratic presidential hopefuls are descending on the annual Iowa State Fair, which runs from Aug. 8-18. While candidates have already begun stumping on the fairgrounds, they would be remiss if they didn't dig into the fair's classic eats. Butter on a stick, anyone? 

The great journalists over at The Des Moines Register compiled a list of some new dishes coming to the fair this year for both savory and sweet lovers. Foodies can enjoy a Berkshire Bacon Balls BLT with some Rainbow Poutine and wash it down with some Corn Dog Ale, along with a Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake Chimi. 

You can find The Des Moines Register's complete list of new and "wacky" foods coming to the state fair here. And you can participate in the Des Moines Register's poll to determine which 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are most like those Iowa State Fair foods. Answer their poll HERE.

For now, we'll leave you with this pic of Joe Biden at the fairgrounds today with one of his only true loves -- ice cream. 

See you all next week!