By Newsweek |
Former DNC Chair Says Billionaire Tom Steyer Will Be a 'Formidable Candidate' for 2020
Former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Donna Brazile spoke positively of billionaire Tom Steyer who announced his decision to join the crowded field of the party's Democratic contenders on Tuesday.
"Tom has been activating Democrats for over the last years, since he stepped away from his business to focus on climate change," Brazile said when asked to comment on Steyer's announcement during a segment of Fox News' America's Newsroom. "And now he's focusing on other issues. I think he's gonna be a formidable candidate," she continued, "because he has resources to go everywhere ..."
When pressed by host Bill Hemmer over which 2020 Democratic candidate Steyer would hurt most, Brazile suggested he "doesn't hurt any of the top tier candidates." She said, however, that Steyer could be "a surprising candidates after a few weeks."
WATCH: @BillHemmer and @donnabrazile discussed @TomSteyer announcing his 2020 bid #nine2noon pic.twitter.com/IzP9jjbb7u— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) July 9, 2019
Hemmer and Brazile also joked about the large number of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination. "I need more paper," the former DNC chair quipped, showing a long stream of connected papers to the camera.
Steyer has long been a prominent donor to the Democratic party and liberal causes. He also founded a campaign to push for President Donald Trump's impeachment. In January, the billionaire said publicly that he would not run for president and instead planned to spend $40 million on an ad campaign calling for Trump's impeachment.
In an election year when several of the Democratic frontrunners have decried wealth inequality, with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont regularly attacking billionaires and the 1 percent, Steyer's announcement video actually touted his large amount of wealth.
"Steyer and his wife are worth an estimated billion-and-a-half dollars," the voiceover in the launch video said. But Steyer in the clip also played up his sense of philanthropy, pointing out that he and his wife "signed a Giving Pledge which is a promise to give away half of your wealth when you're alive to good causes."
He also took aim at inequality in the U.S., pointing out that American society is currently "very unequal."
"If this is the banana republic with a few very, very rich people and everybody else living in misery, that's a failure," Steyer said in the video as footage of the president's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. appears on the screen.
"Americans are deeply disappointed and hurt by the way they are treated by what they think is the power elite in Washington, D.C.," Steyer asserted. "And that goes across party lines, and it goes across geography. We've got to take the corporate control out of politics."
Steyer pledged to spend $100 million on his presidential campaign, but it's unclear whether he will qualify for the next round of presidential debates taking place later this month. In order to do so, he will need to poll at 1 percent or higher in three qualifying polls and receive at least 65,000 unique donations over the next week.