Tom Steyer speaks to reporters during a campaign stop at Manny's, a popular destination for candidates, in San Francisco on July 17, 2019.

Doug Sovern/KCBS Radio

Steyer Brings Presidential Campaign To The Mission

July 18, 2019 - 11:18 am

SAN FRANCISCO — Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer came out swinging against President Donald Trump when he drew a packed house to a San Francisco cafe for the first local event of his fledgling presidential campaign on Wednesday. 

Steyer, a hedge fund manager and environmentalist who has called for impeaching the president, told the crowd at Manny's that Trump is a "fraud" and "criminal."

The cafe in the Mission neighborhood is a haven for left-wing political discussion and popular destination for candidates

Steyer said he was appalled to see Trump intensify his criticism of Somalia-born Rep. Ilhan Omar at a campaign rally as a crowd chanted "Send her back." 

"He's the most corrupt president in American history. He's a criminal. He's a threat to the Constitution and he's dangerous to the American people," Steyer said. 

In response to curious voters who asked why the Democrats should nominate a billionaire with no government experience, Steyer cited his wealth as providing at least one advantage: "I can say nobody owns me," he said. 

Steyer only launched his campaign on July 9, months after saying he'd decided not seek the Democratic nomination.

Speaking to reporters, Steyer explained how he differentiates between capitalism in general and corporate influence in politics. 

"I don't object to corporations," he said. "What I object is corporations taking over the democracy."