Andrew Yang distanced himself from fellow presidential candidates in opening remarks in the Democratic debate on Thursday night, criticizing Congress and media networks for “missing the reason why Donald Trump became our president in the first place.”
Asked first on the impeachment of President Trump, much of the debate stage was united in agreement. Former Vice President Joe Biden called impeachment a “constitutional necessity,” while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called the president a “pathological liar.”
But Yang took a different route, after saying last month “when we’re talking about impeaching Donald Trump, we’re talking about Donald Trump and we are losing.”
“It’s clear why Americans can’t agree on impeachment, we’re getting our news from different sources, and it’s making it hard for us to even agree on basic facts,” Yang said. “Congressional approval, last time I checked, was something like 17 percent, and Americans don’t trust the media networks to tell them the truth.”
The tech entrepreneur known best for his trademark universal basic income proposal went on to describe his theory of why Trump was elected, arguing that the offshoring of manufacturing jobs flipped swing states in 2016.
“If you turn on cable network news today, you would think he’s president because of some combination of Russia, racism, Facebook, Hillary Clinton, and emails all mixed together. But Americans around the country know different,” Yang argued. “ . . . The more we act like Donald Trump is the cause of all of our problems, we lose trust that we can actually see what is going on in our communities and solve those problems.”
Yang closed by taking a pragmatic approach to Trump’s impeachment, saying “make no mistake, he’ll be there at the ballot box for us to defeat.”
“What we have to do is we have to stop being obsessed over impeachment, which unfortunately strikes many Americans like a ballgame where you know what the score is going to be, and start actually digging in and solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in the first place,” Yang stated. “We have to take every opportunity to present a new, positive vision for the country, a new way forward, to help beat him in 2020.