She's Running
July 9, 2019

Retired fighter pilot Amy McGrath announced on Tuesday she's running for Senate in 2020 against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

In an announcement video that aired on MSNBC's Morning Joe, McGrath said that McConnell "was elected a lifetime ago" and has "bit by bit, year by year, turned Washington into something we all despise ... a place where ideals go to die."

McGrath in her video, which is titled "The Letter," also recalls writing to McConnell when she was 13, arguing that women should be able to fly fighter jets in combat, but that she never heard back. She asks, "I've often wondered, how many other people did Mitch McConnell never take the time to write back, or even think about?" In an interview with The Associated Press, that she "felt like somebody needs to stand up to him."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) earlier this year was "actively recruiting" McGrath to run against McConnell, Politico reported in February, and McConnell's team, "leaving little to chance," quickly began putting together opposition research on his potential challenger. McGrath in 2018 ran for Congress against Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) but lost in a close race.

In , McGrath argued that "the things that Kentuckians voted for Trump for are not being done ... because of Senator McConnell." She also said that, as a moderate, she was "concerned" while watching the recent 2020 Democratic debates "that many of the candidates were pulling a little too far left." Brendan Morrow

January 15, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced on Tuesday that she is launching a presidential exploratory committee.

Gillibrand shared the news while taping an episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, telling the host she has the "compassion, the courage, and the fearless determination" to take on corruption and greed in Washington, institutional racism, and "special interests that write legislation in the dead of night."

She also told Colbert she will "fight for other people's kids as hard as I will fight for my own," and she believes that "anybody who wants to work hard enough should be able to get whatever job training they need to earn their way into the middle class." Colbert asked Gillibrand the first thing she would do if elected, and she said in addition to taking action on climate change, she would "restore what's been lost — the integrity and the compassion of this country. If you want to get things done, you have to get people together." Gillibrand, a vocal critic of President Trump, was re-elected in November. Catherine Garcia

January 3, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the first major Democrat to officially launch a presidential bid, sat down with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night for her first interview since launching her exploratory committee. Maddow began by highlighting Warren's consistent, decades-long focus on explaining how financial institutions are ensnaring the middle class in ruinous debt traps. And Warren quickly laid out her pitch for the Democratic nomination: "Washington is working great, fabulously for the wealthy and the well-connected — they have bought the government they want, they have bought the rules that they want. I think that Washington ought to work for everybody else," and "I want to be in this fight."

Warren made clear she views President Trump and his party as part of the problem. "We have lived through two years of one scammer and grifter after another running federal agencies, running our federal government," she said. "And we've lived through two more years of giant tax giveaways to the billionaires, to big corporations, and harder and harder squeeze on working families" and students.

Inequality isn't new, Warren said, but "Donald Trump is an accelerant," and "he's pretty damned open about" his view that "this government works for the rich." With Trump, Republicans are "just wallowing in the corruption, but the problem is a long, systemic problem," she added.

Warren actually found some common ground with Trump on foreign policy, however. "I think it is right to get our troops out of Syria and, let me add, I think it's right to get our troops out of Afghanistan," she said. There are "lots of different problems in Afghanistan, and what seems to be the answer from the foreign policy establishment? Stay forever. That is not a policy. We can't do that. Now, having said that, when you withdraw, you've got to withdraw as part of a plan. You've got to know what you're trying to accomplish throughout the Middle East," she said, and Trump's foreign-policy-by-tweet is the opposite of that. Watch below. Peter Weber

December 31, 2018

It's official: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) is getting ready to run for president.

Warren on Monday announced she is forming an exploratory committee, the first step in a presidential run. Warren said in a video message that "America's middle class is under attack" and that the U.S. government has become "a tool for the wealthy and well-connected." She says that "this dark path" the U.S. is on "doesn't have to be our future," pledging to rebuild the middle class and "build it for everyone."

"The American people deserve a real debate about how to level the playing field for working families and who is best to lead that fight," the Democratic senator added in an email to supporters, per NBC News' Mike Memoli.

Warren is the first major Democrat to make this move toward a likely presidential run. Most early Democratic polls have shown her trailing possible 2020 contenders such as former Vice President Joe Biden. Watch Warren's video announcement below. Brendan Morrow

October 15, 2018

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) took President Trump up on his offer. Trump, who regularly mocks Warren's assertion that she has Native American ancestry, said he would donate $1 million if she took a DNA test. Now she has. It found "strong evidence" she had a Native American in her family tree at least six generations ago, The Boston Globe reports. Warren provided a DNA sample to a lab in Georgia, and the results were analyzed by world-renowned Stanford DNA ancestry expert Carlos Bustamante and sent to Warren last week. "The vast majority" of her ancestry is European, Bustamante found, but the results also "strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor."

Six to 10 generations "fits Warren's family lore, passed down during her Oklahoma upbringing, that her great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith, was at least partially Native American," the Globe reports. But it also indicates she's no more that 1/32 Native American. Warren is expected to easily win re-election to the Senate in November, but the ad about her ancestry she released on Monday suggests she's serious about a run for president.

The Boston Globe extensively researched Republican claims that Warren got any of her academic jobs because of her claim to Native ancestry, and found only evidence that she was not considered a minority hire.

That's not to say people use dubious Native American ancestry to get preferential treatment. On Sunday, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported that a company owned by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's (R-Calif.) brother-in-law William Wages earned more than $7 million in federal contracts due to Wages' claim to be 1/8 Cherokee. Wages belongs to the federally unrecognized Northern Cherokee Nation, considered fraudulent interlopers by the three recognized Cherokee tribes. Neither Wages nor any of his known ancestors appear on tribal ancestry rolls dating back to the early 19th century, a Cherokee genealogist discovered, and the Times found that all of Wages' ancestors identified as white. Peter Weber

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