Tom Steyer defends presidential run, talks climate change in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer was strong on climate change at an event in San Francisco Monday night, where he also defended his run for president.

"We have a broken government. What can we do to unbreak it? And what can we do particularly about climate," asked Steyer, in some of his opening remarks at the Commonwealth Club event.

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Last month, Steyer was the 26th candidate to enter the 2020 presidential race. Months before his announcement, he said he would not explore a run in order to fully focus his efforts to impeach President Trump.

On Monday, Steyer says if elected, he would declare a climate emergency on day one of his presidency.

"We are going to have a healthier economy and a healthier environment."

Steyer, a San Francisco-based activist and former hedge fund manager, also took aim at President Trump's foreign policy.

"We're part of the world, whether we like it or not. And you can not build a fence around the United States of America and think all of a sudden all the problems are going to stay outside. That's ridiculous."

Kate Larsen: "The thing that differentiates you the most-- is that climate change?"

Tom Steyer: "I think the thing that differentiates me the most is that I'm an outsider, that's fought and beat corporations for 10 years."

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But Steyer's status as political outsider and also as a billionaire, is what makes Steyer most similar to the President. Though Steyer has spent millions on ads aimed at impeaching Trump.

Kate Larsen: "You're the leader of the impeach Trump movement. But you're also running for president. So how do you want to beat him? Do you want to impeach him or do you want to beat him at the ballot box."
Tom Steyer: "I have said from the beginning of Need to Impeach, which was almost two years ago, there are three ways to get rid of Mr. Trump. We can impeach him and remove him from office, he can resign, or we can beat him at the ballot box. He's not going to resign. So in fact, I'm still continuing to fund the need to impeach movement. I'm not putting my personal time into it. But in fact, that's at the place where the majority of democratic representatives in congress are now in favor of impeaching this president, of starting an impeachment procedure in Congress. So that's proceeding on its own way."

Steyer's answer was not totally clear-- neither were the opinions of voters who attended the event.

Kate Larsen: "Do you want to vote for Tom?"

Stefan Hofmeyer: "Um, yet to be determined."

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"It was great to hear him, I think he's doing a lot of great things," said Ada Wells, who lives in Alameda and enjoyed the Steyer event. However, when it comes to who has her vote, she said, "I don't know who I'm voting for. It is wide open for me in the democratic race."

Steyer is getting closer to qualifying for the next democratic debate. He has the requisite donors but still needs to reach two-percent in one more early-stage poll.
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