Rep. Ilhan Omar made it clear on Saturday that former vice president Joe Biden wouldn’t make the kind of president she feels America needs, blaming a lack of progressiveness that would prevent him from tackling “systematic” American challenges.
According to The Guardian, Omar delivered the keynote speech at the Iowa People’s Presidential Forum — a political gathering that took place not far from the much larger Polk County Steak Fry, where 17 Democratic candidates were in attendance to give stump speeches to crowds of thousands.
The forum Omar spoke at drew two top-tier 2020 Democratic candidates — Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, both of whom are considered the most progressive in the 2020 class of Democratic presidential hopefuls.
Omar demanded “a president who realizes we are not just fighting for one election [but] fighting for the very soul of our democracy and what society we want to become.” When questioned by a reporter from The Guardian if Biden could be that kind of president, she explained why she didn’t think so.
“I think it has been very clear to many of the people who have been creating the kind of movement that is exciting generations, that we want somebody who really has a plan that is going to tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have, and he doesn’t,” Omar said.
Julián Castro, a 2020 candidate and former housing secretary under President Barack Obama, also took a jab at Biden’s absence from the event.
“I’ll just say that if we’re going to win this election in 2020, it’s going to be because we excite people, and we can’t excite them if we don’t show up for them,” Castro told reporters.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist, reportedly received standing ovations as he answered questions from community leaders in attendance. In contrast, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, one of the four candidates who appeared at the forum, received the least level of excitement from the crowd.
Though Biden has remained the clear front-runner of his party even before his official announcement to run in April, the former vice president has taken a few hits in recent days. According to The Inquisitr, Biden found himself in second place in an Iowa poll for the first time. He was bested by Warren, who has had a steady rise in the polls due in part to her solid presidential debate performances.
Biden’s polling numbers also sunk to a new low in a recent Fox News poll released on Saturday, though he was still in the lead with 29 percent support.