- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2019

Looking to burnish her foreign policy chops ahead of a possible 2020 presidential bid, Democrat Stacey Abrams said Friday President Trump’s approach to global affairs has hurt local economies and damaged industries across the nation.

Ms. Abrams told an audience gathered for a national security forum in Washington that the Trump administration’s “anti-immigrant rhetoric” and trade wars with China have created a culture of fear that has discouraged civic engagement in immigrant communities.

She also said the refusal to take the threat of election hacking seriously has put the nation’s democracy at risk.

“If we do not secure our democracy and ensure that every vote counts in 2020, we will be having a very different conversation, possibly in Russian, in 2030,” Ms. Abrams said.

Ms. Abrams, a former minority leader in the Georgia House, came within 55,000 votes of becoming the first black female governor in the nation’s history.

She declined to concede, claiming the Republican Brian Kemp, who served as secretary of state, and his allies engaged in voter suppression tactics.

Despite the loss, Ms. Abrams is widely viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party and delivered her party’s response this year to Mr. Trump’s State of the Union address.

She has turned down the opportunity to challenge Republican Sen. David Perdue in 2020, leaving her with two likely options: take a second stab at running for governor in 2022 or join the massive Democratic presidential field.

Asked on Pod Save America this week whether she was still flirting with a White House run, Ms. Abrams said, “Yes.”

The 45-year-old kept the speculation alive Friday when she appeared on a panel with former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu at the National Security Action Forum and was then slated to deliver the keynote address at the Council on Foreign Relations Conference on Diversity in International Affairs.

At the national security forum, Ms. Abrams said it could be hard for the United States to seize the high ground in global debates when the Trump administration has refused to lead on issues related to climate change and gun violence.

“Our values espoused abroad have to be reflective by the values we espouse at home, and one of the challenges certainly epidemic to gun violence is that we cannot challenge and chastise other nations of the security of their people when we allow our people to be randomly murdered for lack of the spine to call out the problem,” she said.

She also said the nation can rebound from the Trump presidency and must show the world that this White House and its fear-mongering tactics are an exception, not the norm.

“He is an example of what happens when we take our eye off the ball,” Ms. Abrams said. “He is an example of when we lose hold of and turn away from our morals and our core and our values.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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