The first Democratic National Committee (DNC) debate of the 2020 presidential election cycle took place last night in Miami and, as expected, there were a few surprises.
Last night’s debate, the first of two, included Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, Jay Inslee, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Tim Ryan, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren.
One of the biggest moments of the evening came when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was asked a question about her history of opposing LGBTQ rights and supporting conversion therapy.
Gabbard noted that she’s since apologized for those statements and reminded people that she grew up in a conservative family with conservative thoughts on LGBTQ people.
“Maybe many people in this country can relate to the fact that I grew up in a socially conservative home, held views when I was very young that I no longer hold today,” Gabbard said. “I served with LGBTQ service members, both in training and deployed down the range. I know they would give their life for me, and I would give my life for them.”
She also promised to support and vote for The Equality Act.
But Sen. Cory Booker jumped in saying Gabbard’s support of The Equality Act was “not enough,” and expanded the conversation to transgender people saying, “We do not talk enough about trans Americans, especially African American trans Americans and the incredibly high rates of murder right now.”
“We don’t talk enough about how many children – about how 30% of LGBTQ children do not go to school because of fear,” said Booker. “It’s not enough just to be on the Equality Act, which I’m an original co-sponsor of. We need to have a president who will fight to protect LGBTQ Americans every single day from violence.”
Booker on transgender violence: "We do not talk enough about trans Americans, especially African American trans Americans and the incredibly high rates of murder right now" #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/Bdh0cEgZrI
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 27, 2019
Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who appears to have helped himself the most via his debate performance, also brought up trans people during a question about healthcare and abortion rights.
'I don't believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice.' — Julián Castro defended the right of low-income and transgender Americans to have an abortion #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/S1bUx6cvCX
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 27, 2019
Castro also looked strong on immigration issues as he dominated during that segment of the debate.
The rest of the field didn’t seem to make up any ground, although, sensing they needed their ‘moment,’ Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Beto O’Rourke, and John Delaney began inserting themselves into questions hoping for more speaking time.
At the end of the day, it seems Warren did as expected and came across as the front-runner (in this crowd); Castro elevated himself; and Booker and Sen. Amy Klobuchar each had strong moments.
One surprise was how flat O’Rourke seemed throughout. After a stellar run for U.S. Senate in Texas last year, it seemed his time off from the campaign trail took a bit of a toll on his usual charismatic presence.
Other thoughts from the Twitterverse:
Castro was the first person to mention the Equality Act and trans women. #DemDebate
— Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) June 27, 2019
Spoke with Julian Castro, who expanded upon rights of transgender people, what he touched on in the debate. So in command of intricate details, knows his stuff. He’s also very direct, as he was on the stage and. Compelling to reporters in the spin room, who gravitated to him.
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) June 27, 2019
I cannot believe I just heard a presidential candidate in a network debate talk about the crisis of violence against trans people of color. It’s a small, but powerful step forward just to hear that acknowledgment. Thank you Cory Booker. #DemDebate
— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) June 27, 2019
The second group of 10 Democratic candidates – including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg – face off tonight in Miami on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo at 9 p.m.