Pritzker’s name, on the other hand, has popped up repeatedly as a potential future presidential candidate, most recently when it was announced he’d be speaking Saturday in New Hampshire. But the Democratic governor’s political team says Pritzker is only focused on his reelection and on helping elect Democrats across the country who support abortion rights.
Pritzker, a self-described “Ukrainian-American, Jewish, Democratic, billionaire, businessman,” was scheduled to travel to Maine after leaving New Hampshire to campaign for Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.
The Illinois governor’s rallying cry for defeating Republicans caught the attention of Democrats in the Granite State, where presidential candidates have flocked over the years to introduce themselves.
“I’m here to tell you that the GOP is naked and afraid,” said Pritzker, pointing to traditional Democratic priorities such as workers’ rights to organize and tackling student debt.
Pritzker also shared a story about former President Donald Trump, who four years ago, Pritzker needled in campaign speeches as “a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic president.”
Pritzker said on March 23, 2020, he contacted Trump to request needed ventilators and PPE. “I knew I needed to swallow my pride and lean on that man’s ego,” said Pritzker. “I told him, ‘I normally don’t like government interfering with the commercial market. But with regard to ventilators and PPE, if you could invoke the Defense Production Act, it would stop the price gouging and put some order in the market.’ I promised I’d say nice things about him on Twitter if he sent me ventilators and PPE.”
A few hours later, Peter Navarro, called to say “everything would arrive soon,” Pritzker said, referring to the former Trump trade adviser who on Friday pleaded not guilty to contempt of Congress charges after failing to appear before the House Jan. 6 select committee.
But “soon” meant “Trump time” and ultimately nothing appeared until after President Joe Biden took office, Pritzker said.
The 150 delegates at the Manchester Memorial High School auditorium ate it up, offering a standing ovation.
By the end of his speech, Pritzker had won over a cadre of Belknap County delegates who enthusiastically told a POLITICO reporter that they’d like to see him run for higher office.
“I think he should be our next president,” Johnna Davis, co-chair of the Belknap County Democrats, said as a couple other delegates seated in her row nodded along. “He’s got great energy. He’s perfect.”