Dem Rep Slams Chaos, Personal Attacks at 2nd Dem Debate as ‘Circular Firing Squad’


Democratic Rep. John Garamendi slammed the infighting and personal attacks between his party’s presidential primary candidates at the second 2020 debate, saying he cringed at the “circular firing squad” nature of the event.

After a rather docile and well-mannered first 2020 Democratic debate on Wednesday, Thursday’s second debate struck a far different tone. Notably, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) all but said that former Vice President Joe Biden was too old to be the nominee with his repeated invocation of the phrase “pass the torch.” And the debate’s most climactic moment involved Senator Kamala Harris directly confronting Biden for his legislative record opposing school integration through busing as well as recent comments where he emphasized his ability to work with segregationist Democratic senators.

“I was flying across the country at that moment and I just cringed. Here goes the beginning of the circular firing squad,” Garamendi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, effectively arguing that the candidates should train their fire exclusively on President Donald Trump. “We really can’t do that. There’s so many issues out there. The integration issue goes back to the ‘70s. It was very, very difficult. We have to press forward. We have to press forward to make sure that every part of our society has access to the education they need, to the jobs that are out there, and so we need to move beyond that and please, no more circular firing squads for our team. We’ve got a great team out there. They’re all very qualified, all very capable. Let’s take a deep breath and really deal with the fundamental issue of the president. He has got to go.”

Blitzer pointed out that this advice essentially defeats the purpose of a debate and wouldn’t help Democratic voters determine who should be the best choice to unseat Trump. “Don’t you want a serious debate between these Democratic presidential candidates to underscore where they agree and disagree with each other? Don’t voters have a right to know that?” he asked.

“I’m quite sure you and other journalists will be more than capable of doing that, we just don’t need to do it to each other,” Garamendi responded.

Following up, Blizter pressed the congressman to say if he thought Harrs was out of line for attacking Biden on his record and comments.

“I think the first debate was the kind of debate we should have. Stated the issues, talk about what you want to do,” Garamendi said. “This second debate, Kamala wasn’t the only person that was going after the frontrunner. I know how that works. I’ve been a front-runner and I’ve also been number two and three in campaigns. I much prefer to talk about the things that I want to do, that I need to do. And let’s talk—if it’s education and busing, recognize the fact that the federal budget spends a whole heck of a lot more money on nuclear bombs than it does the education. Those are the things we want to be talking about if you want to be president.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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