Elizabeth Warren announces 2020 presidential launch in Massachusetts: ‘This is the fight of our lives’
Warren's announcement comes after new fallout over her Native American ancestry.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is off to the races, announcing on Saturday that she would be running for president in 2020.
The former Harvard law professor formally launched her presidential campaign in Lawrence, Massachusetts, before an animated crowd in frigid temperatures. She offered a clear message of persistence and cited a track record as a fighter beginning in her early years living in Oklahoma.
“This is the fight of our lives,” the senator said to the crowd packed in an outdoor quad at Everett Mills. “The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone. I am in that fight all the way.”
“That is why I stand here today — to declare that I am a candidate for president of the United State of America,” she added.
Warren’s decision to briefly stop in her home state, before embarking on a campaign swing through the early voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, had hyped speculation that Warren was ready to transition her exploratory committee into a full-blown campaign.
Warren’s announcement comes on the heels of a tumultuous week after new fallout over her claim of Native American ancestry — a claim that, at times, has been a distraction in her political career and a potential impediment on her presidential ambitions. The issue this week arose from a Washington Post report that Warren had identified herself as “American Indian” on a 1986 registration card for the State Bar of Texas.
The disclosure appeared to raise questions about how Warren self-identified her ethnicity.
The registration card was not an application to the bar and was used for statistical purposes only, according to a spokesperson for Warren.
Warren insisted to reporters this week: “This is our family story.”
Amid this latest scandal, Warren found herself in a familiar position, apologizing for her claim to Native American ancestors dating back up to 10 generations, telling the Post she “can’t go back” and change her decision. She added that she was “sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”
Warren further apologized before reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for “not being more sensitive to tribal citizenship and tribal sovereignty.”
This revelation comes a week after Warren made a personal apology in a phone call to John Baker, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, for her decision to take a DNA test last year.
But Warren also conceded that there may be other documents reflecting the same self-identification, leaving herself open to further criticism.
“All I know is during this time period, this is consistent with what I did because it was based on my understanding from my family’s stories,” she told ABC News.
In October, the Boston Globe reported that a DNA test taken by Warren showed that she had a Native American ancestry — a move that did not appear to quell any criticism about her family tree from one of her staunchest rivals: President Donald Trump.
He has repeatedly challenged Warren to prove her heritage and antagonized her by sarcastically calling her “Pocahontas.”
On Saturday, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale released a statement saying, “Elizabeth Warren has already been exposed as a fraud by the Native Americans she impersonated and disrespected to advance her professional career, and the people of Massachusetts she deceived to get elected. The American people will reject her dishonest campaign and socialist ideas… Only under President Trump’s leadership will America continue to grow safer, secure and more prosperous.”
This most recent stumble in the saga over Warren’s Native American heritage seemed to disrupt the momentum heading into Saturday’s announcement and has also raised questions about the durability of her soon-to-be-launched campaign as she continues to confront negative headlines.
After first being elected to the Senate in 2012, Warren rose to the highest echelons of the Democratic Party by taking on Wall Street, propping up the middle class and helping create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama after the 2008 financial crisis.
To gear up for her presidential run, Warren first announced an exploratory committee in a Twitter video released just before the new year.
Leaning in on the core policies that have paved a path to prominence, Warren said in the video, released on Dec. 31, “America’s middle class is under attack. How did we get here? Billionaire and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice … We can make our economy work for all of us.”
“No matter where you live in America or no matter where your family came from in the world,” she added, “you deserve a path to opportunity.”
Following Saturday’s announcement, Warren’s heads to Dover, New Hampshire. As an early primary state — and because of its proximity to Massachusetts and significance as a linchpin in presidential contests — New Hampshire is expected to be key to Warren’s campaign.
ABC News’ Mary Bruce, Adam Kelsey, Mariam Khan, and John Verhovek contributed to this report.