tv Road to the White House 2020 Rep. Eric Swalwell D-CA News Conference CSPAN July 12, 2019 2:39pm-2:59pm EDT
kamala harris speaks in gillford. watch live coverage of democratic presidential candidates from new hampshire on c-span. watch any time at cspan.org and listen with the free c-span radioapp. earlier this week, congressman eric swalwell became the first democratic candidate to drop out of the 2020 presidential race. he explained his decision at a news conference in dublin, california. >> good afternoon. welcome to the ibew 595 union hall. this is a hall i know quite well. when i was a teenager i worked out of this hall on behalf of a council candidate and over the past 20 years worked to support the work of this union and the work and campaigns of other candidates around here, so a very fitting and comfortable place for me and my family, my
campaign team to work out of for our campaign. we started about three months ago a presidential campaign believing that we must bring the promise of america to all americans. the idea is that no matter who you are, who you love, where you're from, what your parents did, your hard work should mean you do better for yourself and dream bigger for your kids. it's a promise i saw fulfilled from my parents as they raised me and my three brothers in bub lynn california. if they worked hard enough they believed i was tcould be the fio go to college. as a counselman i saw all the people who did not have that promise of support. so i went to congress. in this past midterm election, i would come home for town halls and meet with my constituents
and at almost every town hall with hundreds of people filling up gymnasiums and churches, i was told that the most important thing i could do as their congressman was the reverse the course our country was taking, go out and find new friends and reshape the congress. so for two years i went to 26 states, led an effort called future 40 to find 40 candidates in their 40s and under who could flip 40 seats. 28 of them won. i also, after being so demoralized like so many of you by mass shooting after mass shooting after mass shooting in america was about to lose hope. then parkland happened. and the communities of parkland converged with communities in sandy hook and cities where we never hear the names and never know is stories like chicago, baltimore, and miami, and moored
to the town halls and the ballot boxes and beat 18 nra endorsed members of congress. we had momentum after the best election. i believe the best way to seize that momentum with a young, diverse member -- a young diverse caucus for the democratic party and 18 fewer nra members in congress was to have a leader in the white house who could seize that momentum. that's why i chose to run for president. i was excited by what i saw across the country over the last three months building on the work we did for the midterms for the last two years. i told my wife and my staff and our constituents and our supporters, we are only running for one reason -- to win and make a difference. not a vanity project. not to write a book. not to make this about anything other than the people who really, really needed that promise to be fulfilled for
them. so being honest with ourselves, we had to look at how much money we were raising, where we were in the polls. and to prove we were serious, we qualified for the debates immediately, made the first cut, got on the debate stage, had a campaign operation with staff in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, new york, washington, and california. and moved the needle on the debate stage on an issue that i was very passionate about. believing that every candidate should pledge that they should support a ban and buy back of the 15 million assault weapons in our country. on the one opportunity i had to do that, our three front-runners that were on the stage with me, vice president biden, senator sanders and senator harris, all three said they supported that. so we have achieved that. communities across america who have been stricken by mass shootings now know that at least three of the front-runners
support this idea that these weapons of war do not belong in our community. but we have to be honest about our own candidacies viability. an american author louis will' amour wrote, there will be a time when you believe everything is over. that will be the beginning. today ends our presidential campaign, but it is the beginning of an opportunity in congress with a new perspective shaped by the lives that have touched mine and our campaign throughout these last three months to bring that promise of america to all americans. to believe that it will wibe th next generation whose leadership will solve climate chaos, bring cures, address the student loan debt crisis and make sure that
we say enough is enough. we don't have to live this way anymore, and that we love our children more than we love our guns. i'm fired up to do that work that i've already been going in the congress, to go back to washington on the house judiciary committee, the house intelligence committee, and as the chair of the steering and policy committee to work on these issues. but to carry the stories of so many people i have met across america. i also want to thank my wife britney, our kids nelson and cricket. they were a lot of fun on the road. my wife was a hell of a surrogate for us. she was a mom when had a full-time job who put everything into her husband's campaign. i also want to thank my parents, eric and vicky, and my brothers, josh, jacob, and chase. as well as my staff, led by our campaign manager, lisa tucker.
as well as our supporters, who made the small contributions, who knocked on the doors, made the text messages, believed in us every step along the way. thank you. i want to thank the media. i see the media everywhere we go across the country. carrying your materials and your cameras and lugging it through airports and trying to catch me and ask the tough questions that we expect in a democracy. you're not the enemy of the american people. you uphold the promise of our constitution of a free speech and a free press. but i want to thank most importantly my constituents. the only reason that a son of a cop who was the first in his family to go to college could believe he could run for congress and elevate the issue of gun violence is because i'm around people who have the spirit of risk taking and looking at their failures and
turning them into successes. i grew up in the tri valley. should be called t-r-y valley. that defines who we are. we try, we fail, we try, we fail, we try. we are the next major tech company. that's in our dna here and a little bit of that is in your congressman. i have in regrets. i'm excited about what we have done. i think it's fitting that today, as we end this presidential campaign over the last week i have been mentoring and helping a working 34-year-old mother of two kids in the south who's embarking today on what will be seen as a long shot campaign for congress in the south. but what i really enjoyed the most about my work is working with and mentoring young people just like i had leaders work with and mentor me. campaign wills begin across america in the next few months to reshape the house, the
senate, city council's and school boards. i believe if those campaigns are run on the issues of going big, being bold with the solutions and going good in the way we treat each other, we will see that promise of america fulfilled for all americans. with that, i would be happy to take any questions. >> do you know if you're going endorse? >> i don't know yet. i'm really impressed by this field. if megan rapinoe gets in the race, i'm probably going to endorse here. i think she turns 35 next july. >> none of the front-runners? >> you know what? i'm really impressed with the field. i'm not going to make any decisions now. it's a talented field, and that was one of the challenges for us. a lot of heavyweights in that field. it's going to take twists and turns. i look forward to being a citizen watching the debates. >> what are you looking for? as you look at the field that's
there, what are you looking for in what you would like to see -- who you would like to see the party standard bearer against president trump? >> i think these are the issues of the future we face, so student debt affects 40 million of us, myself included. climate chaos -- 12 years before the effects are irreversible. gun violence. as parent wes take our kids to school and worry all day that we are going get a call that something happened. these issues with new and i think it's going take a next generation of leaders. the next best matchup against donald trump is somebody who lives in the present but never, ever stops thinking about future. [ inaudible question ] >> yes. yes. [ inaudible question ] >> i said that i wouldn't seek both. our attorneys have told us that you can run for both that. decision wouldn't have to come until december, and that if we
were still in it in december i wouldn't seek both. but, you know, the polls have had their way, so here we are in july. i'm excited, as i said, to continue this work. i'm going to work. i'm going to leave here. i'm going to an immigration round table to address the border crisis which affects our district with so many migrants and their families coming here. yes, i'm excited to do that work. it's not just running for reelection. it will be imminent issues like the work we have on the judiciary committee and special counsel mueller coming before congress next week. >> what lessons did you value from this experience? >> yeah. people really do trust you when they get those opportunities face to face, they tell you things that they probably only tell their spouses and they're really counting on you and they
still believe this is kaua coun of fairness and order and laws and they're counting on it being that way. i don't want to let folks like that down. that's why i get so frustrated with the president. you stand in the living rooms of hard working americans. you see how hard they've worked to buy their home. they're not asking to live a lavish life and be a member at mar-a-lago. they just want to know their prescription drugs aren't going to bankrupt them. they want honesty in their politicians and equal opportunity in their lives. >> was it fun? >> it was fun. it was a lot of fun. it was fun to have my 2-year-old and my 8-month-old out there with me. in some of these living rooms, they jumped up to take the kids. if i have any regret, it's that my kids won't member this at
all, but i hope they're proud of why i ran and what it meant to other families who wanted a champion on gun safety. >> is all of this picking at one another doing more damage? >> we need a candidate who's tested, i'll tell you that much. because donald trump is the best political puncher ever in american politics. whoever we send to that debate stage with president trump is going to have to be able to take a punch, throw a punch and unite the country at the end of the campaign. that's going to be a very special person. so i think this is okay. this is needed. weaknesses will be flushed out and a leader will emerge. >> what's your message to come of your fellow candidates? >> it's really a personal
decision. we looked at the upcoming debate. we had the money in our account to try and qualify for the debate but it wouldn't add up. we wanted to be honest with ourselves and with our supporters. if there was a viable chance, i would not be standing here today. from day one, i was running to win. if that's what others are doing, i'm sure they're assessing their chances as well. as soon as it doesn't look like you're likely to win, in my case i didn't want to mislead my family, my staff, my supporters, my constituents. [ inaudible question ] >> it is a crowded field. you had people who have had, you know, high name recognition. two of the candidates have run for president before that i stood on the stage with.
we have a senator in california who's running. she's quite talented and quite popular. i'll leave it to analysts to determine that. i'm proud of the issues we ran on and the team that we had behind us. i just wish i could have done more for them and those issues. >> for the thresholds that you failed to meet, was it fund-raising, polling, number of donors, when was it you decided i'm not going to continue? >> the polling wasn't moving after the debates. the donor number was always going up, but it wasn't going to reach the point where we could qualify for -- the september debate is 130,000. i welcomed those thresholds. as someone who's putting everything into it expecting your family and staff and volunteers to put everything into it, we didn't want to screw around here. we wanted to grow with the thresholds and if we didn't, we
were going to get out. those thresholds, i think, are fair and it's the best way to narrow the field. >> how much was raised last quarter? and also you went hard at the nra. should they take this as a win? >> they're at bankruptcy court right now, so you could ask them there. the win against nra is really from moms demand action, the giffords group. they put them on the ropes and i was just a part of that effort inspired by that effort. for us, the final numbers will come out in a week. i think ballpark is around $850,000 is what we raised this past quarter with just under 21,000 new donors for the presidential candidate. >> hindsight is 20/20. if you could go back and redo anything in the presidential debate, your approach, the topics you raised, would you have done anything differently? >> no, no.
i would have taken my kids out with us. they were really popular. or brought them out more. >> are you at all concerned about any backlash in the district from people that it could damage you as you run for reelection. >> i don't take anything for granted. i'm going to go right after this meeting to meet with constituents about immigration and the border. we've got a town hall in about two weeks. i don't take anything for granted. i beat a 40-year incumbent in 2012 who had taken the district for granted. i hope the district sees these issues i was running on nationally were the district's issues. people in our district have student loan debt. our district is seeing sea level rise in union city that could affect communities there. our district sends their kids to schools and worries about their
safety. there was a constituent during this campaign who gave me an insulin vial and said please carry this. the issues i ran on nationally are the issues for my district. what my district will find is a congressman who's reinvigorated and ready to bring these issues front and center. i believe because we ran a credible campaign, one that is ending today, but a credible campaign, i will be able to advocate in an even more effective way for my constituents now. [ inaudible question ] >> i have not, no. i welcome anyone who wants to run. what makes our country great is that ideas are tested. i expect there will be other people who may consider running too. anyone who wants to run should run and i respect anyone who wants to run because it is a hard decision to make. i expect that we'll have a number of people in the race.
>> tom steyer is mulling jumping in. any advice for him? >> it's rough out there. but, you know, welcome to the race, tom. i wish him well. great. well thank you all again. thank you again to our supporters, our family and our staff. thank you. [ applause ] a live picture from milwaukee this afternoon. employees are welcoming president trump for a fund-raiser today. the psi