"I see a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home. Nothing gets done. I've talked to teachers and truckers and, you know, nurses, and they feel like they're just running in place and it's not adding up to anything," Swalwell told Colbert.
"I talk to people who are just like me, who are the first in their family to go to college. They've got a lot of student debt — can't buy a home, can't start a business. I talk to kids who sit in their classroom afraid that they'll be the next victim of gun violence. And they see Washington doing nothing about it after the moments of silence, and they see lawmakers who love their guns more than they love our kids. And none of that is gonna change until we get a leader who is willing to go big on the issues we take on, be bold in the solutions we offer, and do good in the way that we govern. I'm ready to solve these problems. I'm running for president of the United States."
"It's official," Colbert responded.
"Now it's official," Swalwell said. "Boy, did it feel good to say that."
The congressman is scheduled to host a town hall on ending gun violence on Tuesday. He joins a crowded 2020 field of nearly 20 significant candidates that includes a couple of his current and former House colleagues. (Swalwell is not even the first to announce on The Late Show — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand did back in January.)
Swalwell, who has been a ubiquitous cable TV presence during his time in Congress, has long teased a run. What his next move would be has long been the subject of speculation around Capitol Hill, given the young congressman’s promise and the difficulty of rising in California politics in such a crowded talent pool.
Swalwell is perhaps best known for his position on the House Intelligence Committee and his work on its investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election. A former prosecutor, he also serves on the prominent House Judiciary Committee.
More so than the other current and former House members who have jumped in the fray, Swalwell is seen as a close ally to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is also part of the California delegation.
He has made multiple trips to Iowa, an early-voting state, and he has touted the fact that he was born there.
Swalwell, who is 38, is a relatively young member of the House Democratic Caucus, where, at least until the arrival of the current freshman class, he was known as one of the members most in tune to younger demographics. In addition to founding the Future Forum, a group of young lawmakers focused on issues relevant to millennials, his biography also touts him as “a leader in adopting social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat as well as technology like Skype to stay in constant contact with constituents.”