DES MOINES — Sen. Elizabeth Warren confirmed she would pull combat troops out of the Middle East in her first term and would not commit to military campaigns without Congressional approval.
The answers came during an interview at the 2020 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum, the nation’s oldest minority-focused presidential forum, presented by VICE News.
Warren was pressed extensively on foreign policy, an issue she has not discussed as thoroughly as her signature domestic policies. She said that she would pull troops out of places like Iraq and Afghanistan, even if the Trump Administration cuts a deal not to do so until after her first presidential term.
Warren also put blame on Congress, where she serves, for shirking its responsibility to check the president on war powers.
“This is a constitutional issue … but it’s also an issue about the American people. This is something we should decide together,” Warren said. “Congress has demonstrated for many years they don’t want to have to debate authorizations for the use of military force because they don’t want to take responsibility.”
Warren said she is skeptical of answers she gets from top generals in charge of the campaigns, when they tell her military intervention in the Middle East is a problem, but the U.S. should stay the course because they are about to turn the corner.
“We’ve turned the corner so many times we’re going in a circle,” she said.
That said, she said it is important for the U.S. to keep its word, for instance saying it was a mistake for President Donald Trump to pull out the Iran nuclear deal. But she did say she would renegotiate a deal, if Trump cut it, to keep troops in the Middle East through what could be her first term.
“I would honor it,” she said. “If I think we can do it on a faster timeline I’ll come back and ask … ‘Let’s open the negotiation again, let’s talk about it, is there more we can do? Because I’m going to get our troops home.”
Warren also reconfirmed that her catchall plan for public education would never leave historically black college and university funding on the cutting room floor despite tradeoffs and negotiations. She has pledged $50 million for HBCUs.
“I’m not dropping the HBCU plan,” Warren said, when pressed. “If you’re asking the question, am I committed to education and am I committed to opportunity not for just some people, but for everybody. The answer is yes. It is a well crafted plan because I care. We need educational opportunities for everyone
Warren’s comments come as she looks to close the deal with Iowa voters and a day after she received a dual endorsement, along with with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, from the New York Times editorial board.
Polls have showed her trailing but within striking distance in the critical early caucus state, but among black and Latino voters, she has consistently trailed as a distant third behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Cover: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the 2020 Iowa Brown & Black Forum in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 20, 2020. (Photo: Justin Hayworth/VICE News)