LONG BEACH, Calif. (CN) – A host of 2020 presidential candidates promised California Democratic Convention attendees Saturday they would back progressive reforms, including citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a ban on assault weapons and a single-payer health care option.
With about three months to go before the Iowa caucuses, 2020 hopefuls gathered in Long Beach to garner support from over 3,000 delegates representing the Golden State’s more than 8.9 million Democrats.
California Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee was greeted by a standing ovation after a week that saw the first open hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
“The most grave threat to the life and health of our democracy comes from within — from a president without ethical compass, without understanding of or devotion to our Constitution,” Schiff said. “And you know why? Because we vote. How do we build another big, beautiful wave? We vote. There is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes that he is above the law.”
Schiff asked the Democratic crowd to help “send that charlatan in the White House back to the golden throne he came from.”
Just hours before Univision’s “Real America” forum, news struck of a mass shooting in San Diego where five people, including three children, were shot dead.
A student from the Southern California school where a gunman killed two of his classmates Thursday asked California Senator Kamala Harris how, as president, she would ensure her safety.
Harris said she would give Congress 100 days to put gun reform legislation on her desk before taking executive action on mandatory background checks and a ban on assault weapon imports.
“Its traumatizing our children and it’s got to stop,” said Harris, who was endorsed Saturday by the California-based United Farm Workers.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg also said he supports tougher gun laws.
The Navy Reserve veteran said his health care plan may not be embraced by progressive Democrats but it’s one the “American majority” would support.
“I want Americans to make that decision for themselves,” Buttigieg said. “Under my plan, we’ll make Medicare-for-all available and if everyone wants it, everyone will choose it.”
Buttigieg’s comments were in response to a question by Univision’s León Krauze on comments by former President Barack Obama on the party’s field of candidates.
Obama praised Democratic candidates at a donor forum Friday and promised to campaign for the party’s selected candidate.
But the former Democratic leader also cautioned them on embracing policies “too far left” or those endorsed by progressive wings of the party.
Obama also said he wants Democrats to build on projects implemented during his administration such as the Affordable Care Act.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told Univision anchor Jorge Ramos that raising the federal minimum wage and fighting climate change are not positions that will “tear down the system” but rather are supported by most Americans.
Sanders said “yes” when asked by Ramos whether Obama “made a mistake” by deporting nearly 3 million undocumented people during his tenure.
“The American people want to stop the ugly demonization of immigrant communities,” Sanders said.
Sanders told the crowd he would restore legal status to recipients of DACA through executive order and sign an immigration reform bill in his first 100 days in office.