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Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro told NewsHour Weekend on Saturday that his campaign has been about the most vulnerable Americans, “people that are often cast aside and marginalized.” The former Housing and Urban Development secretary joins Yamiche Alcindor to discuss the impeachment of President Trump, how money is influencing the 2020 race and what motivates his campaign.
The PBS NewsHour political Democratic debate on Thursday had the smallest number of candidates so far. One of those who made it into earlier debates, but not this week's debate, is former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. He joins us now from Seattle, Washington.
Thanks so much for being here. Americans remain deeply divided over the impeachment of President Trump this week. There are polls in some swing states who show that more than half of voters actually oppose removing President Trump from office. Why do you think Democrats haven't convinced more Americans that President Trump should be removed from office?
Well, I think that's going to continue to happen as the evidence now in the Senate trial continues to be examined and is there for Americans of all different backgrounds to see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears. And so I actually have confidence that as this process continues to move along, because we're only halfway through it.
But as the process continues to move along and people see and hear the evidence that there is going to be more support for removing this president from office. The other thing we have to acknowledge, though, is, you know, we live in a very politically polarized time. And this president has tried to do everything that he can to fan the flames of that division. So it's not surprising that you're going to see numbers like this.
But as people see the evidence and hear the evidence, I believe that you'll see more folks support his removal.
Do you think that there are too many millionaires in the race right now?
What I believe is that, too oftentimes, money talks in politics, whether that's the money of somebody who's able to self fund and reach these thresholds by artificially boosting their poll numbers, pumping in tens of millions of dollars into TV ads and Facebook ads. Or, as was discussed on the debate stage the other night, it's the money of special interests where essentially you have people that may be influenced by the big special interests behind them.
Both of those things are problematic. We need a democracy that belongs to the people.
I'm very proud that the average contribution to my campaign is just under 20 dollars and that I have one of the highest percentages of small dollar donors. It's the people out there giving their 10 dollars, 20 dollars. Twenty five dollars that are making up my campaign. I'm proud of that.
Vice President Joe Biden would not commit to serving two terms if elected president. What do you make of that? And would you commit if you were elected to serving two terms?
I would say that I'm going to if I'm elected president, I'm going to work very hard on behalf of the American people.
And I believe that we're going to make real progress in this country to boost prosperity for everyone. So I believe that I'd be in a good position to run for reelection.
But, you know, what I agree with is that none of that is certain. You never know how anything is going to go in your first term as president. So I understand it. I understand his answer.
For me, I believe that, you know, if I work hard as president on behalf of the American people and we do well in this country, then of course, I would run for reelection.
You're sticking in this race, though you have struggled to gain some traction. What's keeping you going? Why stay in?
Throughout this campaign, I've been doing things differently from everybody else. I haven't been afraid to speak up and to go places in ways that other other candidates won't. I've been speaking up not only for strengthening the middle class, but also for the poor, because somewhere along the way, as Democrats, we forgot to fight as intensely for people who were poor.
Just a couple of days ago, I was on Skid Row in Los Angeles visiting with people who were homeless to understand the changes that we need to make in our country so that everybody has a place to live. I visited a storm drainage tunnel in Las Vegas where people were living there underneath the Las Vegas Strip. They have nowhere else to lay their head at night.
I want to make sure as well that no matter who you are, your background, that you're able to succeed. And my campaign has been about the most vulnerable people, people that are often cast aside and marginalized. So more and more people have found this campaign.
And especially with young people out there, we have gained some traction that we can feel. And we're working as hard as we can to capture that, to harness it and to beat expectations in Iowa and then springboard from there.
Well, thank you so much. Julian Castro, running for president. I appreciate you joining us.
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