Sen. Elizabeth Warren is set to bolster her Senate resume next year, sparking early talk about a 2020 presidential bid.
The Massachusetts Democrat will join the Armed Services Committee in 2017, branching out beyond the tough-on-Wall Street message that made her a liberal favorite.
From The Hill
Warren has tied the decision to her family – her three brothers served in the military – and Massachusetts ranks in the top 10 states on military spending, according to a Pentagon report.
But the announcement spawned a wave of a media speculation that Warren is filling portfolio gaps to position herself for a 2020 presidential run.
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell called the step a “very important move that could be a first step in a presidential campaign.”
The Washington Post’s Daily 202 — a morning rundown aimed at decision makers inside Washington — speculated that Warren and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is separately joining the Foreign Relations Committee, “very clearly want to seek the presidency for themselves in 2020.”
Liberals unsuccessfully pressured Warren to run in 2016, and talk of a 2020 White House bid began even before Hillary Clinton publicly conceded the race to Donald Trump on Nov. 9.
Adam Green, who co-founded the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told Time magazine that Warren “would make a wonderful president.”
But Warren, who would be 71 years old in 2020, is so far sidestepping the White House talk. She told a local Massachusetts TV station that a White House bid next cycle wasn’t on her “radar screen.”
Pressed if she would consider a run in the future, she shot back: “Oh, come on.”
Warren’s demurring isn’t stopping conservatives from painting her decision to join the committee as purely political.
“America’s military men and women deserve better than Warren using the Armed Services Committee as yet another platform for her all-but-announced 2020 presidential campaign,” said Jeremy Adler, a spokesman for America Rising Squared — an offshoot of the conservative super-PAC America Rising.
He added that “Warren has fought to cut the U.S. military, weakening our nation’s security” since she joined the Senate.
Warren’s Massachusetts predecessors, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat, and former Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, both served on the committee as well.
Warren is relatively new to Washington, joining the upper chamber in 2013.
But she has quickly risen through party ranks as a leader of the progressive wing on financial issues and a member of Senate leadership in 2015. She also used social media to flex her political muscle and position herself as a chief Trump critic during the 2016 cycle.
Moving to the Armed Services Committee will put Warren at the heart of a looming fight over Russia that is set to dominate Congress in 2017. It will also give her a megaphone to hit back at the Trump administration on national security and military spending.
Warren has already taken aim at Trump’s pick of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department, saying he’s a nominee both Republicans and Democrats would have “trouble with” because of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We’ve already been worried about Donald Trump’s ties to the Russians,” she told WCVB, a local TV station.
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