Congressman Adam Schiff of California warned a gathering of Democrats that American democracy is being threatened, but that he remains optimistic.
And in an interview, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and cable news staple said he isn’t giving a lot of thought to running for the White House in 2020, but he didn’t totally close the door to the idea.
Schiff, in New Hampshire on Friday to headline the Portsmouth Democrats annual banquet, told the audience of politicians, candidates, party officials and activists that “the very idea of America is at risk” due to the actions of Republican President Donald Trump.
But he added that “in the midst of all of this, I remain optimistic.”
Schiff said one of the reasons for his optimism was because he touted that Democrats “have the most superb group of people running for Congress that I’ve have ever met.”
“They’re people like Chris Pappas,” he added, spotlighting the Democratic nominee in New Hampshire’s First Congressional District.
“They’re women. Overwhelming they’re women. They’re running all over the country and they’re competing in places we’ve never competed before. And they will carry us to victory,” he predicted.
Schiff said the second reason he’s optimistic is Democratic turnout, highlighting that “in every special election. In every primary election. What you saw here in New Hampshire, we’re seeing all over the country. Turnout that is twice as big as before, three times as big as before. Democrats and progressives determined to take back their country.”
Schiff’s optimism was shared by Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who invited the high profile California Democrat to keynote the dinner.
The retiring four-term Democratic congresswoman from Rochester, who was honored at the gala, told the audience that “I feel so optimistic for this country.”
“There were times we all worried about whether we would be able to overcome this, but now I’m absolutely convinced that we’re going back to a good, strong democracy that represents the 99 percent of us,” she predicted.
In his speech, Schiff criticized Trump but saved his biggest attacks for the Republicans that control both chambers of Congress.
“One of the terrible realizations of the last year has been not what a terrible president Donald Trump turned out to be, which was all too predictable, but how complicit the Congress of the United States would be,” he said.
And Schiff charged that “when they write the history of this chapter, they will reserve some of the most damning words for this Congress, that when our institutions were challenged, that when our rule of law was challenged, did nothing. Did nothing.”
Schiff’s visit to the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House, following a trip earlier this year to Iowa, which holds the first caucus, is sparking some speculation about the possibility he might consider a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
“I’ve only thought about it because people have been asking me about it for the last couple of years but honestly I’m completely focused on winning back the House,” he told Seacoastonline.
Schiff said his main goal right now is helping Democrats win back the House majority in November’s midterm elections.
And he added that “I’ve got a big job in the House right now. I may have a bigger job in the House if we’re in the majority and I have an opportunity to get to the truth in terms of a lot of the Russia investigation that we’ve been thwarted in doing. So it’s hard for me to see past that. I would never want to say never but my focus is really on the House.”
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley praised Schiff as “one of the leading voices against Trumpism since the inauguration. A lot of us have been watching him on TV or reading him on Twitter and it’s great to be able to meet him.”
State House of Representatives Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff complimented Schiff and said if the California congressman decided to run for the White House, “I think he’d be very well received in the Granite State.”
This piece was originally published at SeaCoastOnline.