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Warren Slams Trump In Advance Of Berkshire Town Hall Sunday

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is heading to the Berkshires this weekend. The Democrat spoke with WAMC in advance of Sunday’s town hall meeting in Great Barrington.

Senator Warren is running for a second term against whichever Republican emerges from the party’s three-way primary contest, but many have questioned if her expansive national profile and substantial campaign war chest means she’s eyeing a 2020 presidential bid.

“No doubt about that, I’m running for reelection in Massachusetts and I’m taking nothing for granted,” she told WAMC.

Warren reported this week that her campaign has raised $15.6 million, at least $6 million of which came in 2018 alone. The campaign touted the fact that more than 93 percent of donations came in increments under $50.

In the wake of President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, Warren described Trump’s conduct as “fundamentally wrong.”

“The job of the President of the United States is supposed to be to defend the United States of America," said Warren, "not to defend Russia. And yet Donald Trump stands right there on the international stage and in front of the whole world attacks our intelligence agencies, attacks our law enforcement officers, and gives a big wet kiss to Vladimir Putin.”

Warren also slammed the Trump Administration’s efforts to combat the country’s opioid epidemic as paltry.

“Do you realize that nationally, they have less than a 1 in 10 chance of getting the medical care that they need in order to get clean?" she asked. "And the reason is not because we don’t know what to do, the reason is because right now as a country, this administration won’t spend the money so that there are enough beds, enough doctors, enough treatment centers, enough long term treatment.”

Warren said that she’s working on a $10 billion dollar a year bill with Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings based on the 1990 Ryan White Act, a similar bill that put federal funds toward combating AIDS.

In response to President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Warren underscored the significance of the choice at hand.

“The decisions that come to the United States Supreme Court will touch every human being in this country," she said. "That’s true whether we’re talking about a woman’s right to make decisions over her own body and her own medical care, whether we’re talking about will Obamacare survive, and will people have access to health care.”

She noted that Kavanaugh, who’s 53, could serve for decades if approved by the Senate.

Turning to local issues, Senator Warren expressed concerns about Charter Spectrum’s attempt to remove Massachusetts stations from the Berkshire dial.

“I believe that people in the Berkshires should have access to local TV news — local sports, local broadcasting from Massachusetts,” said Warren to WAMC.

She's built a reputation for holding corporations to strict standards. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Warren claimed that corporations are not people, in response to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And she told CEO John Strumpf in a 2017 Senate hearing that he should resign over fraud committed at Wells Fargo under his leadership.

“This is something that I’ve worked closely with Senator Markey and with Congressman Neal on to try to stop this," said Warren. "We’ve got some legislation in the works —  Senator Markey is taking the pen on drafting the bill, I’m looking forward to seeing it. But this is a place where we’re going to have to push back.”

Here's the full interview with Senator Warren — including what’s on her summer reading list. It begins with her reaction to the Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki on Monday.


Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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