‘What’s the point?’: Dem senators laugh off Dean Phillips’ primary challenge

Some senators expressed confusion about Phillips' identity.

Phillips, a Democratic member of Congress from Minnesota’s 3rd District, announced his candidacy for the presidency last Thursday. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

(Daily Caller News Foundation) — Several Democratic senators laughed when asked about Dean Phillips’ candidacy for president on Tuesday, according to their remarks outside the U.S. Senate chamber to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Phillips, a Democratic member of Congress from Minnesota’s 3rd District, announced his candidacy for the presidency last Thursday, challenging President Joe Biden for his party’s nomination in 2024. Phillips’ candidacy was widely panned by Democratic senators, some former presidential candidates themselves, with some laughing at the DCNF when asked about his campaign.

“What’s the point? Really?” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts to the DCNF, adding that “Joe Biden laid out an agenda. He has delivered on it. And he’s going to be the Democrats’ nominee. And he’s going to win. And I don’t get what Dean Phillips is doing except trying to advance Dean Phillips somehow.” Warren was less certain about whether Biden may lose the New Hampshire Democratic primary to Phillips after he declined to participate, saying “I don’t know,” when asked about Biden’s prospects.

“I don’t know what Mr. Phillips is doing. I think he’s going to receive the biggest defeat that a candidate could receive,” said Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico to the DCNF as he departed the chamber for the day. “I’ve not met anyone that can explain to me what Mr. Phillips’ intention is today. And Mr. Phillips is running a campaign where he complements President Biden. So I don’t know what he’s up to.”

“He is not regarded as a serious candidate,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut to the DCNF.

Other senators expressed derision toward Phillips. “It’s hard to take Dean Philips seriously in the primary,” said Sen. Chris Coons to the DCNF. “The New Hampshire primary doesn’t matter insofar as winning the nomination goes,” he added.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana was among the senators who expressed confusion about Phillips’ identity when asked about his candidacy, saying “I don’t know him from Adam,” to the DCNF. “Who?” Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia said with a smile to the DCNF as he walked into the Senate chamber to cast a vote.

“I don’t know who he is,” said Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland. “I really haven’t thought that much about him,” replied Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado to the DCNF.

Two senators — Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island — laughed when asked about Phillips’ candidacy. “‘Ha.’ That’s my comment,” Whitehouse told the DCNF.

Phillips’ campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.


Arjun Singh