Democrats rip Trump and appeal for campaign cash as former president enters 2024 race
By Gregory Krieg, CNN
No one in American politics brings Democrats — and fed-up conservatives — together quite like former President Donald Trump.
President Joe Biden, party leaders, allied organizations, rank-and-file elected officials and the campaign of Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, who faces Republican Herschel Walker in a runoff next month, are responding to Trump’s announcement that he will run for president in 2024 with a pledge to defeat him — again — and a request of their supporters: Send cash.
Moments after Trump declared his intentions Tuesday night in Florida, the Democratic multiverse expressed outrage mixed with early signs of how they plan to campaign against him.
Biden’s political social media accounts posted two videos — one earlier in the day and another during Trump’s speech — with a singular message: “Donald Trump failed America.” The first clip, from Tuesday afternoon, used a split-screen to contrast Trump’s talk about infrastructure with Biden’s signing of a bipartisan deal to fund scores of new projects. Then, a little after 9 p.m. ET, the president’s team rolled out another video, this one slamming Trump for “coddling extremists,” “attacking women’s rights” and “inciting a violent mob” during his time in office.
That line of attack was baked into fundraising appeals and list-building efforts from the party and other Democratic groups. The Democratic National Committee asked supporters to “rush $20” its way. Warnock, less than three weeks out from his runoff, tweeted, “I know you may be focused on Donald Trump tonight, but first we gotta focus on Georgia. Please chip in to help me defeat my opponent, @HerschelWalker.”
DNC Chair Jaime Harrison, in his own statement, said the party was “ready to remind Americans what Trump brought America.”
His list was long and included a menu of forthcoming attacks.
Trump had, Harrison said, “rigged the economy for the super rich,” installed a “right-wing Supreme Court that overturned Roe and paved the way for extreme Republicans across the country to criminalize abortion” and sown the “absolute chaos that culminated in inciting a mob to attack the Capitol to try to overturn an election he knew he lost.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, with its eyes on Georgia, asked for donations “to defeat the Trump agenda” — the words written across an image of Walker and Trump that linked to a portal for giving.
MoveOn.org, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the Sunrise Movement were among the progressive organizations that used the announcement to lambast Trump while trying to recruit like-minded voters to sign up for future outreach. Indivisible, the grassroots group formed in the aftermath of Trump’s election in 2016, promised to deliver still more blows to the former president’s political agenda.
After touting Democratic-led repudiations of Trump during his presidency, Ezra Levin, the group’s co-founder, said in a statement, “We then beat him personally in 2020. We then beat his Georgia senate candidates in 2021. And most recently we beat his MAGA candidates in 2022. Apparently Trump is hungry for an umpteenth defeat – and we’ll give it to him.”
Meanwhile, leading abortion rights organizations, fresh off a better-than-expected election cycle, issued scathing denunciations of Trump — and of his right-wing allies, who were widely, if not entirely, rejected during last week’s midterm elections.
“The biggest loser last Tuesday was indisputably Donald Trump and the MAGA extremists he supported,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju said in a statement. “If he wants so badly to repeat that experience in two years, we will happily oblige him.”
Planned Parenthood’s political arm had harsh words for Trump, but also cast a wider net, ahead of what some in both parties now expect to be a broad field of 2024 Republican primary candidates.
“In 2020, voters overwhelmingly rejected (Trump’s) divisive and dangerous agenda,” said Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes. “And they will reject it again — no matter whether the agenda comes from Trump himself or one of his imitators.”
Leading Democratic voices and groups also urged against underestimating the weakened former president’s hold over the GOP.
“Democratic victories in statehouses across the country will protect the path to the presidency, but we cannot be complacent,” said Jessica Post, president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. “Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party extends all the way down ballot.”
Former Obama adviser David Plouffe cautioned on Twitter: “Assume (Trump) could win again despite it all and act accordingly.”
Others mocked the speech. Dan Pfeiffer, another former Obama adviser, tweeted, “This speech is Trump’s message delivered with Jeb Bush’s energy and Ted Cruz’s charisma.”
Warnock’s Senate colleagues also coalesced around a push to parlay Democratic outrage at Trump into support for the incumbent ahead of his contest with Walker. Democrats have already retained their majority in the chamber, according to CNN projections, but a win for Warnock would pad their slim advantage.
“The main thing you need to know about Trump announcing for re-election is that Raphael Warnock is in a runoff and it’s exactly 3 weeks from now and we don’t just need money we need it kinda fast,” tweeted Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy chimed in as he retweeted Schatz: “Warnock needs to make decisions on staffing and ad buys this week. If you haven’t given yet, today is the day. If you’ve already donated, can you do one more? It matters.”
Some Republicans also joined in the criticism.
Sarah Matthews, a former Trump administration press aide who testified about his conduct before the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, called Trump’s appearance “one of the most low-energy, uninspiring speeches I’ve ever heard from Trump. Even the crowd seems bored. Not exactly what you want when announcing a presidential run.”
Shortly after Trump’s speech, National Review, the conservative magazine that has largely abandoned the former president, published an unsigned editorial on its website titled, simply, “No.”
“It’s too early to know what the rest of the field will look like,” the magazine’s editors wrote, “except it will offer much better alternatives than Trump.”
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CNN’s Maeve Reston contributed to this report