In a hot, crowded Harrison Auditorium at the Penn Museum on Friday, Sept. 9, former Penn professor and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) minced no words when it came to Donald Trump, the 1968 Wharton graduate who heads the Republican presidential ticket.
“Let’s talk about the large orange elephant in the room, Donald Trump.” Warren said, to a chorus of boos. “Donald Trump is a small, insecure money-grubber who will never be president of the United States!”
The audience, as loud as it was crowded, stood and applauded. The anticipated salvo at Trump taken care of, Warren, who had been introduced by Pennsylvania Democratic senatorial candidate Katie McGinty, wasted no time in speaking to the crowd about issues like student loan debt.
After describing her own initial struggle in affording an education, Warren asked the crowd for a show of hands, of the students in the room burdened with loans and debt.
There were very few hands that did not go up.
McGinty’s speech, just moments earlier, followed a similar script. McGinty, the daughter of a former Philadelphia beat cop, bemoaned the actions of her election rival Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), mentioning how close the Senate came in 2006 to allowing for the refinancing of student loan debt, only to have Toomey join a Republican minority in successfully filibustering the legislation.
“It’s not rocket science. The guy’s out of touch.” said McGinty, in reference to Toomey. “Pennsylvania has the third highest amount of college debt in the country.”
Although Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State, was not in attendance, her presence was heavily felt. The event was filled with Clinton staffers, and the Clinton campaign had announced the event several days in advance via email and social media platforms. A Clinton-Kaine sign even hung from the lectern on stage.
And while McGinty’s race against Toomey was enough to bring out the support of both Warren and Bob Casey, Pennsylvania’s senior senator, the harshest rhetoric, by both McGinty and Warren, was saved for Trump.
“Here’s what I know. We can do better. I know that we will do better.” said McGinty in reference to Trump and his campaign rhetoric.
This was followed by Warren discussing how Trump, in the Trump University legal case, attacked the family and heritage of the presiding judge when things didn’t go his way. When that didn’t work, Warren insisted, Trump took his debauchery a step further by paying off elected officials in both Florida and Texas to see that the case went his way.
The event ended with a call to action: each person in the room was encouraged to register to vote by Warren, and to update their registration if they had not already done so.
“I’ve never let anyone in one of my classes pull out their phone,” Warren said to laughter, before encouraging voters to do just that, so that they could register to help the McGinty and Clinton campaigns.
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