Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) may not have decided yet whether to run for president, but he sounded like a candidate-in-waiting on Tuesday while arguing the Democrats need to make national security a central part of their platform in the presidential election.
A Marine Corps veteran who deployed to Iraq four times, Moulton argued the United States needs to update existing alliances, build new ones, and establish clear strategic goals in Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere during a speech Tuesday at the left-leaning Brookings Institution think tank in Washington D.C.
"With regards to 2020; yes, I am looking at a potential campaign," Moulton said. "I think that we have to make the argument to people that there are serious national security concerns across the globe and that this has got to be part of the debate. But this is one of the things that I hope will be added to the conversation."
"I'll be the first to say that we have extraordinary candidates who have already announced and are running. There are amazing people out there who are running and contributing to this debate, and, ultimately, this has got to be part of the discussion as well. And if this is one of the things that I can add to the debate, then that's perhaps an argument for me to jump in."
Moulton told Task & Purpose after his speech that he has not arrived at a decision about whether to enter the presidential race.
"I'm just looking at it seriously," the former infantry officer said.
When asked if he planned to visit early battleground states Iowa and New Hampshire any time soon, Moulton did not give a definitive no.
"It may be part of it but I don't have any plans on the calendar out there," Moulton said.
Moulton first told BuzzFeed that he was considering entering the 2020 presidential race. In Tuesday's speech, he accused President Donald Trump of damaging U.S. foreign policy beyond repair by abandoning alliances and cowering to adversaries.
Yet the "disaster" of the past two years has presented the next administration with an opportunity to overhaul how the United States reassures allies and confronts enemies.
"When your old house gets damaged by a bad renter – or in this case a terrible president – you don't just restore it to look like it was built in 1950," Moulton said. "You take the opportunity to renovate it. You don't just rebuild; you build something new –something more relevant; something better. That's what's required of our foreign policy today. In with the new and – more difficult but as important – out with the old."