More than 20 Democratic presidential candidates descended on Clear Lake, Iowa, on Friday evening for the state party’s annual Wing Ding dinner as they blitz the critical early voting state this weekend, making their pitch to voters.

Many Democrats used their speeches Friday night to lambast President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE accusing him of offering “no moral leadership” and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) hitting what she called a “trade-war-by-tweet.”

Several of the candidates on stage have in recent days pointed the finger at the president’s rhetoric in discussing the recent El Paso, Texas, mass shooting, ripping the president’s previous remarks about an “invasion” of immigrants.


Candidates continued to go after the president’s rhetoric and behavior on Friday night, with Biden accusing him of exercising “a political strategy of hate, racism and division.”

“Donald Trump doesn’t get it. He truly doesn’t understand what we’re all about,” said Biden, who sat in the audience while his fellow Democratic rivals spoke before delivering the final speech of the night.

“Take it back now. This is America,” Biden yelled. “Take it back.”

Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators Overnight Energy: US Park Police say ‘tear gas’ statements were ‘mistake’ | Trump to reopen area off New England coast for fishing | Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues in battle to save seats MORE emphasized the need for Democrats to unite to ensure that Trump “is a one-term president.”

“But you know what, it’s more than that. It’s about soundly rejecting the behavior that he’s normalizing,” he said. “We expect more out of preschoolers than we do the president of the United States.”

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.), one of several Democrats to draw a standing ovation from those gathered Friday night, called on Iowans casting the first ballots of the Democratic nominating contest to stand up to Trump’s “darkness.”

“We will stand up with faith in our country, faith in our ideals, faith in each other and come together again and stand together and work together and love together and overcome his darkness with our light,” he said.

Though the state’s caucus is not until Feb. 3, the Iowa State Fair and its peripheral events are longtime staples for presidential candidates as they seek to jockey in what this cycle has become one of the most crowded primary fields in modern history. 

While Democrats seeking to take on Trump next year kept the president in focus, they also touted their own policies Friday night, with Warren highlighting her proposed “wealth tax” on the ultra-wealthy to help pay for a bevy of programs, including universal child care and eliminating student debt.

“We’ve had enough of an America where the government works better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. 2020 is our chance, we can make this government work for all of America,” she said. “Let’s do this, Democrats.”

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE also brought the crowd to its feet with a message of unity.

“And with a fire in our belly and with a hope in our hearts, we are going to fix things in this country, we’re going to do it together and I am proud to do it with you every step of the way,” he said.

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