- President Trump was incredulous that he’d face Biden or Warren in the 2020 election, a new book says.
- Per ex-counselor Kellyanne Conway, Trump in 2019 showed interest in a big rally headlined by Warren.
- Conway compared Warren to Kamala Harris, telling Trump that her campaign didn’t live up to its hype.
As Democrats went through the early stages of their presidential nomination process ahead of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump kept a watchful eye on the race, eager to see who might be his challenger as he sought reelection.
When Kellyanne Conway told Trump in August 2019 that Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts held a rally that attracted over 10,000 attendees, he immediately paid attention, according to her newly-released memoir.
In the book, “Here’s the Deal,” Trump’s former senior counselor wrote of the then-president’s less than stellar impression of the unfolding Democratic field, despite initially showing some concern at Warren’s appeal among the party’s base voters.
“I printed up an article and some photos from the Warren rally,” she wrote. “It was scheduled to be indoors but was moved outside due to the large turnout. I knew what to expect when I got to the Oval Office and started by urging the president not to overreact.”
Conway proceeded to mention then-Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who launched her campaign in Oakland to much fanfare before seeing her campaign message stall amid a large field of candidates.
“I reminded him that we had all been wrongly impressed by the twenty thousand people who’d showed up for Kamala Harris’s presidential announcement rally, only to see her appeal and popularity fade almost immediately,” she said.
Trump then asked Conway: “So, would you rather run against Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren?”
“I’d rather run against Elizabeth Warren,” she responded, per the book. “But I’d rather debate Joe Biden. She would be up in your grill, finger in the face, calling you every name in the book. Pig. Sexist. Xenophobe. Racist. Disgrace.”
She continued: “Six months later, Warren would do exactly that to hapless billionaire Michael Bloomberg, making quick work of his failed personal billion-plus-dollar investment in his own Mike-for-president campaign. His consultants may have been the biggest winners of the cycle.”
Warren’s sharp criticism of Bloomberg during a February 2020 Democratic debate, where she called him “a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” was seen as a key turning point in the collapse of the former New York City mayor’s presidential candidacy.
Trump was less impressed with the Democratic field — including former Vice President Joe Biden — as they made their case in ousting him from the White House.
“Trump could not believe he’d need to face either Biden or Warren. ‘Is that the best they’ve got?’ Now the president was asking the same core question many concerned Democrats were,” Conway wrote.
Despite Trump’s dismissal of the Democratic candidates, Biden went on to capture the nomination and defeat the then-president in the November 2020 general election, flipping the key states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.