Biden, Bernie, and Kamala — oh my. Here we go again. With the first night of the Democratic primary debate wrapped up, we're tuning into round two tonight, which features the two old white men leading in most polls: Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Also on the roster are Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Michael Bennet, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Andrew Yang, and Marianne Williamson. Without opening statements, each candidate will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to any follow-ups, putting them under immense pressure to stand out in a crowded field of 2020 hopefuls.
Whether or not you decide to watch, read on to find out the most important moments of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential election. We'll continue to update this story as the night goes on.
The candidates started the night by attacking Trump.
It took exactly five minutes before candidates decided to attack the rival not in the room: President Donald Trump. While their counterparts in the first night of the debate mentioned POTUS a handful of times, Joe Biden attacked him on his first turn. "Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America," he said. "Ordinary, middle-class Americans built America."
Sen. Kamala Harris moved in with criticism of Trump's tax legislation, saying the measure added $1 trillion to the American debt. Sanders weighed in as well, calling the president a "phony," a "pathological liar," and "racist." He added: "That's how we beat Trump. We expose him for the fraud that he is."
Joe Biden: “I'm still hanging on to that torch.”
California Rep. Eric Swalwell, 38, took aim at Biden, saying that 32 years ago the former Veep said it was time to "pass on the torch" to the new generation of political leaders. He asked whether Biden still felt this way today: "If we’re going to solve issues, pass the torch." Biden, who will turn 78 two weeks after the 2020 presidential election, was unfazed. “I'm still hanging on to that torch,” he said.
Sen. Kamala Harris (a.k.a. Momala) told the kids no one is interested in watching a "food fight."
After the exchange between Swalwell and Biden led to multiple candidates arguing over whether age should have any bearing on someone's ability to lead the country, Harris put a stop to the drama. "America does not want to witness a food fight," she said, "they want to know how we're going to get food on their table."
The precise moment Kamala Harris proved herself to be the adult on the stage:
“Hey guys, America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we’re going to put food on the table.” 🔥 🔥 🔥
— Madam President Kamala Harris (Supporters) (@flywithkamala) June 28, 2019
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand refused to be interrupted.
While the male candidates have happily bickered, interrupted, and yelled over each other two nights in a row, the women have had to toe the line between being firm and coming off as rude. (Thanks, patriarchy!) But Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was having none of it when Sen. Michael Bennet tried to hijack her chance to speak about her support for universal healthcare. She said: "No, it's my turn!" Bennet backed off.
“No, it’s my turn,” @SenGillibrand says as she is interrupted, speaking for women in meetings across America
— Caitlin Huey-Burns (@CHueyBurns) June 28, 2019
When asked if their healthcare plans would cover undocumented immigrants, every candidate raised their hand.
In a show-of-hands moment, the candidates came to a consensus on one issue: allowing undocumented immigrants to receive health insurance. “Our country is healthier when everyone is healthier,” Mayor Buttigieg said, before pivoting to his views on immigration policy. “We shouldn’t have 11 million people without a pathway to citizenship.” Biden said additional people buying into healthcare would reduce costs for everyone else.
Trump has, of course, been firing off tweets for the second night in a row. He wrote, "All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!"
All Democrats just raised their hands for giving millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare. How about taking care of American Citizens first!? That’s the end of that race!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2019
Candidates condemned the Trump administration's hardline immigration agenda.
separation of thousands of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border. They also spoke up against holding migrant children in immigration detention centers. "In Colorado, we call that kidnapping," said former Gov. John Hickenlooper, of the separation of families. Author Marianne Williamson said the conditions at the detention centers should be called "collective child abuse."
Bennet said he is reminded of his mother when he sees migrant children being split from their families at the border, because she was separated from her parents during the Holocaust. "What we should be represented by is the Statue of Liberty," Bennet said, not Trump's border wall.
Sen. Kamala Harris challenged Joe Biden on Obama's deportation policies.
Harris said that one of the few policies on which she disagreed with the Obama administration was the deportation of undocumented immigrants. (Nearly three million people were deported under his administration.) "The policy was to allow deportation of people who by ICE's own definition were non-criminals," she said. She pointed out that as attorney general of California, she stood against the criminalization of immigrants, so that all members of the community would feel comfortable with law enforcement.
"I want a rape victim to be able to run in the middle of the street to be able to run down a police officer and report the crime against her… and not be afraid of being deported," Harris said.
Sen. Kamala Harris confronted Joe Biden about his record on race.
Sen. Kamala Harris confronted former Vice President Joe Biden over his past record on the issue of race, in perhaps one of the most emotional moments of the first presidential primary debate's second night.
"I do not believe you are a racist," she began, before adding that it was hurtful to hear Biden speak highly of two segregationist senators and his work opposing busing. Harris continued: "You know, there was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me."
Sen. Kamala Harris discusses race and calls out Joe Biden for opposing busing. "It cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats," she says, "we have to take it seriously." #DemDebate2 pic.twitter.com/43Nzspluio
— CNBC (@CNBC) June 28, 2019
Pete Buttigieg addressed the police shooting in South Bend.
.@PeteButtigieg asked about police shooting in South Bend.
Q: “The police force is 6% black in a city that is 26% black. Why has that not improved over your two terms as mayor?”
A: “Because I couldn’t get it done.”
— Justin Warmoth (@News6Justin) June 28, 2019
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took a swipe at Biden by mentioning the Hyde Amendment.
.@SenGillibrand shifts focus to anti-abortion laws. "We have to stop playing defense and start playing offense … I have been the fiercest advocate for woman's reproductive rights over the last decade." She gets robust applause from the audience. #DemDebate
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) June 28, 2019
Marianne Williamson says her first call as president would be to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern.
Marianne Williamson: Is this the Prime Minister of New Zealand?
Jacinda Ardern: *hangs up*
— 🍸Martin 🏳️🌈 (@iMartinski) June 28, 2019
Marianne Williamson: "I am going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field, and sir, love will win."
This Marianne Williamson campaign statement just out to reporters for how to destress after the debate is incredible pic.twitter.com/v16X1ydNLC
— Matt Berman (@Mr_Berman) June 26, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris invoked her "3 a.m. agenda."
“This election is about what wakes you up at 3 a.m., that’s why I have a 3 a.m. agenda. An agenda from health care to paying the bills at the end of the month,” Harris said in her closing statement.
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