2020 Democrats Say Steve King Should Resign: Campaign Update

Tyler Pager

(Bloomberg) -- Representative Steve King has given Democratic presidential candidates more fodder to bash him and direct support to his Democratic challenger.

On Wednesday, King, an Iowa Republican who has been stripped of his committee assignments for his history of offensive comments, expressed his opposition to exceptions for rape and incest in anti-abortion legislation by saying that humanity might not exist if rape and incest did not occur, according to the Des Moines Register.

Many of the Democrats running for president, including Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand and Cory Booker, immediately said that King should resign, and some posted a link to donate to J.D. Scholten, the Democrat who is challenging King again after narrowly losing to him in 2018.

Many Democrats had previously called for King to resign earlier this year after comments he made to The New York Times questioning why the term white supremacy was offensive.

O’Rourke to Resume Campaign After Mass Shooting (10:57 A.M.)

Beto O’Rourke says he’ll return to the presidential campaign trail after taking more than a week off in the aftermath of the mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso.O’Rourke’s campaign announced he’ll give the “first major address” of his flagging presidential effort Thursday in El Paso, outlining the path forward for his candidacy.

Earlier this month, a gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 at a Walmart in El Paso. Just before the shooting, the suspect posted a manifesto online in which he denounced immigration and wrote that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

O’Rourke entered the presidential contest with sky-high expectations after a narrow loss to Ted Cruz in a 2018 Senate race. However, O’Rourke has failed to gain much traction in the race, and many Democrats have pushed him to drop out of the race and run for the Senate against John Cornyn in 2020.

Trump Campaign Puts Focus on New Hampshire (10:05 A.M.)

The Trump campaign is putting an early focus on New Hampshire, site of the nation’s first presidential primary election, setting up campaign staff even though the president is virtually unopposed.A rally by President Donald Trump on Thursday comes as Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren campaign in the state this week.

His campaign announced Wednesday that the Republican National Committee and campaign had put in place a political director, state director, and three Trump campaign chairs.

The stated goal of the team is “up and down ballot” victories in 2020, according to Trump Campaign manager Brad Parscale in the announcement, where he also sought to cast the election as a contest between “socialist government takeover” and Trump. Sanders calls himself a socialist, and Warren’s policies are left of Democratic Party norms.

Elissa Voccola and Eric Mitchell will serve in RNC director roles in New Hampshire while Fred Doucette, Al Baldasaro, and Lou Gargiulo will serve as Trump campaign chairs in the critical state. -- Alyza Sebenius

Bennet Chides Trump’s ‘Endless Reality TV Show’ (8:25 A.M.)

Michael Bennet has a different strategy for pitching his case to be president: If elected, you just might not see him for weeks at a time.“Watching Donald Trump’s presidency is like watching one of those car accidents you can’t take you eyes away from,” the U.S. senator from Colorado told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday.

The Democratic candidate -- who has not yet made the cut off for the next debates -- said Trump was “wasting everybody’s time” with his “endless reality TV show.” Bennet said Trump has “exhausted all of us and I think its just time to move on.”

Bennet wrote on Twitter last week that if elected president, “I promise you won’t have to think about me for 2 weeks at a time. I’ll do my job watching out for North Korea and ending this trade war. So you can go raise your kids and live your lives.” -- Terrence Dopp

COMING UP

* President Donald Trump holds a “Keep America Great” rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday.* The Democratic National Committee holds its meeting Aug. 22-24 in San Francisco. All Democratic presidential candidates are expected to speak.* The next round of Democratic presidential debates is Sept. 12-13 in Houston. So far, nine candidates have qualified to participate.

--With assistance from Terrence Dopp and Alyza Sebenius.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tyler Pager in Washington at tpager1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Joe Sobczyk

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