Democratic presidential candidate Andrew YangAndrew YangPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run At 28 percent approval, say goodbye to Kamala Harris being Plan B to an aging Biden Adams wins New York City mayor's race MORE tore into his opponents at Friday night's debate for appearing to blame President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Biden celebrates start of Hanukkah Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' MORE for "all of our problems."
In a critique of fellow White House hopeful Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegRestless progressives eye 2024 GOP becoming a cult of know-nothings The massive messaging miscues of all the president's men (and women) MORE, Yang said the former South Bend, Ind., mayor was "missing the point of Donald Trump's victory."
"Donald Trump is not the cause of all of our problems, and we are making a mistake when we act like he is. He is a symptom of a disease," Yang said. "He is a symptom of a disease that has been building up in our communities for years and decades. It is our job to get to the harder work of curing the disease."
He went on to say the politics game's real losers aren't either party but the communities politicians are meant to represent.
Andrew Yang: "Donald Trump is not the cause of all of our problems, and we are making a mistake when we act like he is. He is a symptom of a disease...It is our job of getting to the harder work of actually curing the disease." https://t.co/93QauZSK6e #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/sQAQpl217g— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 8, 2020
"That's why Iowa, a traditional swing state, went to Trump by almost 10 points. That's why Ohio, a traditional swing state, is so red. I'm told we're not even going to campaign there," he added. "These communities are seeing their way of life get blasted to smithereens. We've automated away 4 million manufacturing jobs and counting. ... If we get to the hard work of curing those problems, we will not just defeat Donald Trump in the fall, but we will be able to move our communities forward."
Automation has been a central focus of Yang's long-shot bid, along with his signature campaign promise of a $1,000 “Freedom Dividend” for all Americans. Yang has argued the dividend, similar to a universal basic income, would protect workers against the proliferation of automation.
His comments on Friday night echo similar remarks at debates, where he's said that automation led to President Trump's 2016 presidential victory. He has also hit his fellow candidates for being "obsessed" with Trump.