Emily Goodin, Daily Mail, July 30, 2019
The Democratic presidential candidates got in shots at President Donald Trump on race Tuesday night as they sparred about the rise of white supremacy in the United States and the best way to heal the racial divide.
Beto O’Rourke vowed to call out the president’s racial statements, Elizabeth Warren decried what she called the ‘domestic terrorism’ that come out of the rise of white supremacy, and Marianne Williamson defended her pledge to give $500 billion to the descendants of slaves during the second Democratic debate.
Williamson called the money ‘payment of a debt that is owed. That is what reparations is.’
And she defended her qualifications to determine such an amount after CNN host Don Lemon questioned her competency.
‘What makes me qualified to say that 200 to 500 billion dollars, I tell you what makes me qualified. If you do the math, a 40 acres and a mule — given that there was a 45 million slaves at the end of the civil war, and they were all promised 40 acres and a mule for every family of four, if you do the math today, it would be trillions of dollars,’ she said.
She also warned about a ‘dark, psychic force’ at work in the country.
‘The racism, the bigotry, and the entire conversation that we are having here tonight, if you think any of this walking this is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collective eyes hate that this president is bringing up in this country, and I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days,’ she predicted.
Reparations — an issue that has gained prominence in the Democratic primary — also came up during that section of the debate.
Beto O’Rourke pointed out his support for Representative Shelia Jackson Lee’s legislation to form a commission to study reparations.
But Williamson shot down his suggestion.
‘We don’t need another commission to look at evidence, I appreciate what Congressman O’Rourke has said. It is time for us to simply realize that this country will not heal,’ she said.
‘There is some deep truth telling the needs to happen. When it comes to the economic gap between blacks and whites in America, it has come from a great injustice that had never been dealt with,’ she added.
Cory Booker is the sponsor of the Senate version of Jackson Lee’s bill. Neither he nor the other African American candidate in the 2020 presidential race, Kamala Harris, were on the stage Tuesday night. The two will be in Wednesday night’s debate.
Other Democrats turned their ire to President Trump.
He’s been under fire for comments he made about four minority Democratic lawmakers known as the ‘squad’ and about prominent African American Congressman Elijah Cummings and his hometown of Baltimore.
O’Rourke both slammed President Trump for his critical statements on minorities and touched on the history of slavery in the country.
‘I want to acknowledge something that we are all touching on is that the very foundation of this country, the wealth we have billed, the way became the greatest country in the planet was on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by force. The legacy of slavery, of segregation and Jim Crow is alive and well and every aspect of the economy,’ he said.
The former Texas congressman also criticized the president for saying the lawmakers who make up the ‘squad’ — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar — should ‘go back where they came from.’
‘We will call his racism out for what it is, and also talk about its consequences,’ O’Rourke said. ‘It doesn’t just offend our sensibilities to hear him say, send her back, about a member of Congress because she is a woman of color, because she is a Muslim American. It doesn’t offend our sensibilities pinnacles Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals or seek to ban all muslims of a shores of country that is comprised of people from all over. It’s also changing this country. Hate crimes are on the rise every single one of the last three years.’
Experts argue white supremacy is on the rise in the country.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, earlier this year, reported a dramatic increase in the number of white nationalist groups in the United States, from 100 chapters in 2017 to 148 in 2018.
Amy Klobuchar jumped on the president’s criticism of Baltimore and Cummings, who represents the city and leads one of the committees investigating the administration.
‘I don’t think anyone can justify what this president is doing. Little kids literally woke up this weekend, turned on the TV, and saw their president calling the city, the town of Baltimore, nothing more than a home for rats. And I can tell you, as your president, that will stop,’ she said.
Trump has defended his comments on Cummings, saying he’s not a racist, but he came under fire after he went after the congressman and said Baltimore was a ‘rodent infested mess.’
A new poll out Tuesday showed half of Americans believe President Trump is a racist. Fifty-one percent said Trump is one, while 45 percent said he isn’t, a Quinnipiac Poll found.
Elizabeth Warren referred to ‘domestic terrorism’ when asked about the rise of white supremacy after the shooting in Gilroy, California, that killed three and injured 12.
‘We need to call it out for what it, is done domestic terrorism. And it imposes a threat to the United States of America,’ she said.
The Massachusetts senator then turned her attack on President Trump.
‘We live in a country now with the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism, the way we do better is to fight back and show something better,’ she said.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg got personal when asked about the issue and talked about his experience healing his community after a black man was shot by a white police officer.
‘As an urban mayor, serving a diverse community, the racial divide lives within me,’ he said.
‘I’m not saying it became mayor, and racism ended on my watch,’ he added. ‘In the wake of a police involved shooting, our community is moving from hurting to healing, by making sure that the community can participate in things like reducing the use of force policy and making sure there are community forces that handle police matters.’
The issue of racism is likely to come up again on Wednesday night when 10 other Democratic contenders take the debate stage.