Politics this weekend

Updated 8:08 a.m. ET, April 8, 2019
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12:11 p.m. ET, April 7, 2019

Booker says Americans may face 'unstable planet' if action isn’t taken on climate change

From CNN's Daniella Diaz and Devan Cole

Sen. Cory Booker took on the issue of climate change Sunday at a campaign stop in Bedford, New Hampshire, telling supporters that if action isn’t taken to mitigate climate change, Americans may face an “unstable planet.”

“If you want to talk about how much of a crisis it is, don’t listen to politicians, look at the reports the US military are putting out. If we don’t do something rapidly, just 25 years from now, when I’m about the age of the current president, then we will have a nation where we are dealing with an unstable planet,” said Booker.

“Famines, refugee crises, and unfortunately, extremism that will rise. Our military is planning for -- I don’t want to use the word Armageddon -- but planning for planetary crisis. You want to hear what’s going on, talk about people who set insurance rates, flood insurance, fire insurance,” he added.

Earlier in the event, the New Jersey senator said that if elected, his first act as president would be to re-add the US to the Paris climate agreement, from which President Donald Trump announced last year that he was withdrawing the US.  

8:53 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

Bernie Sanders says convicted felons who have served their time should be able to vote

From CNN's Annie Grayer and Caroline Kelly

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Sunday that he supports former convicted felons being able to vote after they have served their sentences.

When asked by a voter in Muscatine, Iowa, whether he would support such a policy on a national scale, Sanders replied, "I think that is absolutely the direction we should go."

Sanders said that the 2 million incarcerated people nationwide have varying voting rights depending on the state, referencing how his home state of Vermont separates voting rights from criminals' punishment and how Florida recently passed a referendum to follow suit.

"Many states say, 'OK, we're putting you away for a long period of time, you’re going to pay a heavy price for that but we’re also taking away your right to participate in a democratic society -- you can’t vote anymore!' Now as you may know in Florida, they just had a very important referendum where 65% of the people of Florida said that that is wrong, that people who have felonies should be able to vote and I strongly agree supported that. In my state, what we do is separate. You’re paying your price -- you committed a crime, you’re in jail, that’s bad. But you are still living in American society and you have a right to vote."

"I believe in that, yes I do," Sanders added.

7:43 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

Castro says that he can win California, be frontrunner by Iowa caucuses

From CNN's Maeve Reston and Caroline Kelly

2020 candidate Julian Castro thinks that he can win California -- and even become the Democratic frontrunner by the time the Iowa caucuses roll around in February 2020, he told CNN Saturday after an event in east Los Angeles.

"I believe that I can win California. California will become much more important this year because it's on Super Tuesday," Castro said, adding that "I'm going to be out here in California a lot. This was one of the first events that we had."

He told reporters that while he isn't well known now, he can feel his campaign advancing and has his sights set on leading the pack come the caucuses.

"I feel like I'm starting to gain momentum -- our fundraising has accelerated, our support out there, I can feel it picking up, getting into the media more. We still have 44 weeks until the Iowa caucus, so it doesn't matter to me if I'm not the frontrunner on April 6, 2019. What matters is how I'm doing in the spring of 2020."

"And I'm not a frontrunner now -- I wasn't born a frontrunner, I didn't grow up a frontrunner," he added. "But I'm working hard, I'm doing what our families do, which is to work hard and to scrap. And I'm confident that by the time Iowa caucuses, I will be the frontrunner."  

5:10 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

Trump mocks asylum seekers, suggesting they look like UFC fighters

By Nikki Carvajal and Eric Fiegel, CNN

President Donald Trump mocked people who seek asylum in the United States during his speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas.

“The asylum program is a scam,” the President said on Saturday.

“Some of the roughest people you’ve ever seen, people that look like they should be fighting for the UFC,” he added, describing what he believes many asylum seekers look like. "They read a little page, given to them by lawyers that are all over the place, you know lawyers, they tell them what to say. You look at this guy and you say, 'Wow, that’s a tough cookie.'

"‘I am very fearful for my life. I am very worried that I will be accosted if I am sent back home,'" Trump said, pretending to be an asylum seeker.

"No, no, he'll do the accosting!” Trump continued. “Asylum, oh give him asylum! He’s afraid!"

"We don't love the fact that he's got tattoos on his face that's not a good sign. We don't love the fact that he's carrying the flag of Honduras or Guatemala or El Salvador, only to say he’s petrified to be in his country.”

4:34 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

Trump singles out Rep. Omar during speech to Republican Jewish Coalition

By Eric Fiegel and Veronica Stracqualursi

While speaking to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump singled out Rep. Ilhan Omar, the Democrat from Minnesota who has been criticized by pro-Israel activists, for some of her comments.

Trump started off his remarks by thanking and lauding several Congressional Republicans by name, before going on to jokingly thank Omar.

“And a special thanks to Representative Omar of Minnesota," Trump said on Saturday. "Oh, oh, I forgot she doesn’t like Israel. I forgot. I’m so sorry. Oh. Oh no, she doesn’t like Israel, does she? Oh please, I apologize."

Trump's comments came after reports that a New York man had been arrested and charged with threatening to assault and murder Omar because of her Muslim faith.

3:03 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan kicks off 2020 presidential bid in Youngstown

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign in Youngstown, Ohio, today, saying that he's running for president to "try and bring this country back together."

"I'm running for president to first and foremost try and bring this country back together, because a divided country is a weak country."

"Things go up and things go down," the Democratic congressman told the crowd. "But if we’re not united, we’re are not going to be able to fix these structural problems that we have in the United States."

He argued that there's "politicians and leaders today that want to divide us."

"They want to put us in one box or the other. You can’t be for business and for labor. You can’t be for border security and immigration reform. You can’t be for cities and rural America. You can’t be for the north and the south. You can’t be for men and women. I’m tired of having to choose. I want us to come together as a country. I want us to seize the future of this country. We are a great country. And we can do it ---And we can do it if we come together," Ryan said.

2:39 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

Young girls ask Beto how he'll ensure all children have enough food and clean water

From CNN's DJ Judd and Caroline Kelly

At a campaign stop in Polk City, Iowa, two girls asked 2020 candidate Beto O'Rourke how he would guarantee that all children had access to adequate food and water.

"It makes me sad that some kids don’t have enough to eat," a five-year-old girl named Leyla told O'Rourke. "If you are president, how will you make sure that all kids have food?"

O’Rourke thanked her for the question, saying, “Thank you Leyla, and thank you for caring about other kids."

"We’re going to make sure that they get the help they need, the food they deserve, because you asked a great question,” he added, before going on to call for SNAP reform and increased salaries for teachers.

The second child, an 8-year-old girl named Morgan wearing a Beatles t-shirt, told O'Rourke that she had learned during a school project that roughly 740 million people worldwide lack clean water access.

"Some of those people are ... in places in our country right now, Flint, Michigan, mostly, so what do you think we should do so kids like me can have clean water access in our country?" she asked, referencing the city's contaminated drinking water crisis.

O'Rourke replied, "Thank you, Morgan, for being here, I share both your concern and your love of the Beatles," adding that while campaigning in Texas, he had been concerned to learn that nearly 50 of the state's water systems were unsafe to drink from.

"This is a problem we see all over the country," O'Rourke added. "And it has something to do with the way we extract resources out of the ground, the way that we treat our soil, the fact that we have an administration where the leaders of the EPA and the Interior Department do not believe in the functions they oversee, and prioritize corporations and those who want to extract over people who will eat what comes out of the soil, drink what flows through their community, breathe what is in the air."

He also referenced Flint saying, "some communities that have born the brunt of the climate change we have already seen, the pollution that we are already emitting, more than others, who have rates of MS or cancer or asthma that are far greater than other parts of the country."

"So you’re so right to bring this up," he added, "because it’s literally a life or death issue for our fellow Americans, our fellow human beings on this planet."

12:57 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

What Trump has been doing on the West Coast

President Trump greets well-wishers after arriving on Air Force One at Naval Air Facility El Centro in El Centro, California, on Friday.
President Trump greets well-wishers after arriving on Air Force One at Naval Air Facility El Centro in El Centro, California, on Friday. Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP

President Trump is in Las Vegas today to deliver remarks to the Republican Jewish Coalition.

This is the second day of his West Coast trip: Yesterday he stopped in Calexico, California, near the US-Mexico border, where he toured the border and participated in a briefing. Later on Friday he attended a private fundraiser in Los Angeles.

12:58 p.m. ET, April 6, 2019

These are the 16 Democrats who are officially running for president

Elizabeth Warren is one of 16 Democrats running for president
Elizabeth Warren is one of 16 Democrats running for president

The 2020 field is taking shape, with candidates revealing their intentions on a seemingly everyday basis.

Here's are the 16 Democrats who have officially announced their candidacy:

  • Sen. Cory Booker
  • Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Former Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Gov. Jay Inslee
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
  • Rep. Tim Ryan
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Spiritual author Marianne Williamson
  • Businessman Andrew Yang