STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Donald who? 2020 prospects hit New York for 'temperature tour'

The Rev. Al Sharpton- may have very well introduced the next Democratic nominee- when he welcomed a quintet of potent...

Posted: Apr 21, 2018 4:02 PM
Updated: Apr 21, 2018 4:02 PM

The Rev. Al Sharpton- may have very well introduced the next Democratic nominee- when he welcomed a quintet of potential 2020 primary contenders to chilly New York City -for a "temperature tour," as the host put it, on Friday, ahead of what's expected to be a hot and crowded nominating contest.

Mostly absent from the menu, though, as the five-star speakers chewed through their political visions on the third day of the National Action Network's 2018 convention, was talk of President Donald Trump. While Washington veers between agony and delight at the latest twist in his soap operatic presidency, the speakers in Midtown Manhattan kept clear of all things Stormy Daniels, James Comey and Michael Cohen.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker closed the bill of potential 2020 contenders, following his colleagues Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand, with an explanation they all might have signed on for.

"I want you all to notice something," Booker told the lunchtime audience. "I'm just closing up on my remarks and I haven't mentioned Donald Trump at all. Why do I say that? Because it's not about him. It's about us and our problems and issues and challenges in this country did not start with Donald Trump."

The liberal and progressive energy that has risen up to meet Trump, Booker added, existed -- or should have -- before the 2016 election. Now, he said, "I am tired of people allowing someone who preaches hate to turn us into haters."

Harris went a step further. Refusing to mention Trump by name, she placed controversial White House policies and rhetoric ahead of his smothering personal style, then cast him in glaring opposition to past Oval Office occupants.

"Presidents of our country (in the 1960s) talked about, and I'm going to quote, 'the New Frontier.' They talked about, I quote, 'a Great Society,'" she said. "By contrast, in the last 15 months, we hear phrases like, I quote, 'American carnage' and a phrase that disparaged an entire continent of people with words I will not repeat here."

She turned, then, to the question Trump posed repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2016, when he asked black voters -- like so many in the audience at the NAN convention, "What do you have to lose?"

Reeling off a litany of controversial administration words and actions, like the recent suggestion by Trump that federal funding for historically black colleges and universities could be unconstitutional, Harris paused, meeting the groaning room as if sharing a personal aside: "This is what I get to see because I'm in DC," she said, "so I see it up close. I just came to share. These are notes from the field."

Gillibrand followed suit with what she presented as a studied warning to the Democratic Party more broadly, telling it "in the most absolute terms, that we should not court that hate for our own electoral survival, but we must shine a light on it for our moral survival."

The New York senator rounded out her program by offering, like Booker and Warren, some scripture and, all alone, positing the creation of "a universal jobs program."

Before turning over the stage to Gillibrand and Booker, Sharpton went a step further in making plain the purpose -- one of them, at least -- of the coming speeches.

"One of the reasons that we've had the presidential candidates come through is because we wanted to have them address the specifics that we deal with in our community," he said. "Now, none (from this year's group) have announced. They're on what we call a 'temperature tour' -- they're trying to test the temperature to see if they should announce."

Gauged if only by response in the rooms, all five will leave New York with ambitions at a boil. Sharpton provided each senator with thorough, warm introductions and all were, from the moment they began their strolls to the dais, welcomed by cheers and a swarm of amateur photographers. "President Harris in the house!" greeted the California senator and Sanders' arrival inspired one onlooker to turn and holler, "Feelin' the Bern!"

For Sanders, it was his second time in front of a predominantly black audience in less than 16 hours. On Thursday night, he joined with the Rev. William Barber II, co-founder of the new "Poor People's Campaign," at the Duke University Chapel in Durham, North Carolina, for a discussion on how to build a "moral economy."

Both at Duke and in New York, Sanders turned to the Martin Luther King Jr.'s April 1967 speech on the Vietnam War. One of the most controversial and politically radical of his public life, King at the Riverside Church on Manhattan's Upper West Side condemned American aggression in the region and tied it back to "the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism."

Sanders channeled that message on Friday, describing King as something more than a Civil Rights leader -- "a nonviolent revolutionary who wanted to see our nation undergo a revolution of values" against those "triple evils."

Meanwhile, the Vermont independent delivered a searing, if familiar, criticism of White House policy and the President's politics, but sough to avoid any protracted commentary on Trump, the tabloid character.

"Too much attention is given to sensational issues like Stormy Daniels, or who Trump fired yesterday, or the latest tweet that he sent out today," Sanders said, rapping the media for its priorities in coverage. "And they are not talking about the broad issues that impact tens of millions of Americans."

The sentiment seemed to run deep, along with a similar frustration, up in New York. During a talk about gun safety after Warren's speech, Minister Kirsten John Foy drew applause when he asked people to look away from the scene in Washington, where "a moron tweets every hour about some irrelevancy," and refocus on states, cities and smaller communities.

Still, Sharpton couldn't resist defending Warren from a familiar Trump insult as he warmed up the early arrivals ahead of her remarks.

"She's derided by the President because she stands up for all of us," he said. "You can judge your friends by who their enemies are. And he tries to deride her, calling her 'Pocahontas.' But to us, she's Sister Po Po."

With that, Warren took the mic and, unlike her colleagues, mostly focused on a single issue: home ownership. She began by discussing her own family's struggles to hold on to their house, then crossed over to a flowing historical analysis of racist housing policy and its legacy -- the decimation of black working class wealth.

"I'm not here to tell you that housing discrimination is any more important or any less important than any other issue facing black America today," Warren concluded. "I know I haven't personally experienced the struggles of African-American families, but I am here to say that no one can ignore what is happening in this country."

Huntsville
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 71°
Florence
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Fayetteville
Broken Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 15718

Reported Deaths: 580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2054112
Jefferson164596
Montgomery138434
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa60712
Lee52232
Franklin4866
Shelby46719
Tallapoosa40863
Butler38013
Chambers33824
Madison3094
Elmore2927
Baldwin2779
Walker2721
Etowah24011
DeKalb2343
Dallas2223
Coffee2161
Lowndes20710
Morgan2041
Sumter2046
Autauga1893
Houston1834
Bullock1673
Pike1600
Colbert1552
Calhoun1503
Choctaw1477
Marengo1456
Russell1440
Lauderdale1412
Hale1354
Randolph1247
Barbour1221
Wilcox1227
Clarke1202
Marion11711
St. Clair1061
Pickens954
Talladega953
Dale920
Greene914
Chilton901
Cullman830
Limestone820
Winston750
Jackson722
Covington711
Henry692
Bibb661
Macon652
Washington656
Crenshaw622
Blount511
Lawrence450
Escambia453
Geneva400
Perry360
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Conecuh301
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 20895

Reported Deaths: 343
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson471660
Shelby451696
Trousdale13924
Rutherford106322
Sumner83845
Hamilton64215
Bledsoe6081
Williamson52710
Tipton4273
Robertson4141
Lake4130
Putnam4105
Wilson3718
Knox3455
Out of TN3394
Bedford2694
Montgomery2513
Rhea1970
Hardeman1890
Madison1742
Loudon1360
McMinn13514
Cheatham1120
Cumberland1111
Fayette1082
Macon1083
Dickson1060
Bradley991
Blount843
Maury800
Washington750
Unassigned750
Sevier752
Coffee660
Wayne630
Sullivan622
Gibson611
Monroe582
Lauderdale561
Hickman530
Dyer480
Franklin481
Greene472
Anderson401
Marion371
DeKalb350
Grundy321
Hawkins312
Smith301
Marshall291
Haywood292
Henry290
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Obion271
White270
Hamblen262
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Meigs250
Lawrence240
Overton230
Warren210
Cocke200
Carter191
Morgan170
Cannon170
Campbell171
Jackson170
Crockett161
Johnson150
Roane150
Polk140
Perry130
Humphreys131
Henderson130
Chester120
Sequatchie120
Giles120
McNairy120
Fentress120
Hardin112
Scott110
Stewart90
Claiborne80
Houston70
Benton71
Grainger60
Clay60
Decatur50
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Moore30
Unicoi30
Pickett30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events