MERRIMACK, NH – Rep. Seth Moulton didn’t make the stage for the opening two rounds of Democratic presidential primary debates, but he’s still heading to Miami next week, where the first showdowns will be held.
And while he's downplaying the significance of those debates, he took some shots Monday at the Democratic National Committee as he vowed not to let the "political establishment" pick the party's 2020 nominee.
“At the end of the day a bunch of people in Washington at the DNC, part of the political establishment, are not going to determine who’s the best nominee to take on Trump. I think that that is clear. As I’ve gone around the country, I certainly haven’t heard people say all hail the DNC and that establishment in Washington, they’ve really got everything figured out,” Moulton told Fox News during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the White House race.
Twenty candidates made the cut for the lead-off debates, but the congressman from Massachusetts and Marine combat veteran who served four tours of duty in the Iraq War was one of just three White House contenders who didn’t reach the DNC’s thresholds to take part.
“I’m not going to cry over spilled milk. They have their rules,” Moulton said Monday.
But he added, “the DNC and their Miami debate is not going to decide who voters are going to choose to be our nominee in February of next year.”
Regardless, Moulton’s headed to Miami.
“We’re going to do some press around it to share my story. What we found is that the more people I get in front of, the more my experience with service and my approach to this race has resonated with the American people. So it’s a simple fact that there’s going to be a lot of people there from the media who’ve asked to speak to me,” Moulton told Fox News.
Moulton was first elected to Congress in 2014, after upsetting then-longtime Rep. John Tierney in a Democratic primary fight. And the 40-year old congressman was one of the ringleaders of last year’s failed push by some House Democrats to prevent Nancy Pelosi from regaining the speaker’s gavel.
He said his fight for a “new generation of leadership” is what sets him apart from many of the other younger rivals running for the Democratic nomination.
“There are people who are talking about a new generation of leadership. I’ve been fighting for it ever since I got to Congress and I’m going to keep that fight going to stand up for Americans on the ground over the political establishment,” he said, in an apparent jab at some of the other Democratic White House hopefuls.
Last month, Moulton opened up about seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after his combat deployments in Iraq. The congressman made his disclosure as he unveiled a plan to expand military mental health services.
Sunday, another rival for the nomination – South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg – disclosed in an interview with Axios that he suffered depression after returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“I’m glad he’s following my lead because we need more people to be willing to talk about mental health,” Moulton highlighted. “And I’ve shared my story in the hopes that more people would share theirs.”