Thousands flooded a Manhattan park to see Elizabeth Warren in her biggest rally to date, and her selfie line after lasted almost 4 hours

U.S. Senator and democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren arrives to speak at Washington Square Park in New York, New York, U.S. September 16, 2019

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U.S. Senator and democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren arrives to speak at Washington Square Park in New York, New York, U.S. September 16, 2019
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REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivered a forceful speech in a campaign stop in New York City on Monday evening.
  • Warren presented a vision of systemic change driven from the inside and outside while also vowing to tackle political corruption if she were elected as the nation’s next president.
  • Her address focused on corruption in American politics, and she also spoke about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 garment workers – most of them women – and spurred substantial workplace safety reforms.
  • The campaign estimated over 20,000 people turned out to hear the senator from Massachusetts make her case for the White House, which would make it the biggest rally of her presidential run so far.
  • Insider was on the scene as Warren delivered a defining speech of her candidacy. Here’s what we saw.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NEW YORK – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivered a forceful speech in a campaign stop in New York City on Monday evening, presenting a vision of systemic change driven from the inside and outside while also vowing to tackle political corruption if she were elected as the nation’s next president.

The campaign estimated over 20,000 people turned out to hear the senator from Massachusetts make her case for the White House, which would make it the biggest rally of her presidential run so far.

Her address focused on corruption in American politics, and she also spoke about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 garment workers – most of them women – and spurred substantial workplace safety reforms.

Insider was on the scene as Warren delivered a defining speech of her candidacy. Here’s what we saw.


People arrived at Washington Square Park for the Elizabeth Warren rally late Monday afternoon. It started getting crowded around 6pm as the event was about to get underway. A New York City Parks and Recreation spokesperson said they expected around 8,000 to 10,000 people to turn out.

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The Warren rally crowd.
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Joseph Zeballos/Insider

There were also less than a handful of Trump supporters holding their own counter-rally. They held signs praising the president and criticizing Warren for a genetic test she took last year proving she had a small but detectable amount of Native American DNA. It remains a conservative line of attack.

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Trump supporters were present at Warren’s rally.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Mehdji Belizaire, a 19-year-old Warren volunteer, was busy handing out campaign buttons to rally goers. She says she’s “still on the fence” about Warren. But Belizaire is drawn to Warren’s plan to cancel student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans, given that she’s taken out $60,000 to support her education at Marymount Manhattan College. “I’m a college student and it would be nice to graduate without student debt,” Belizaire says.

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Warren campaign volunteer Mehdji Belizaire
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Ellen Friedman, 76, sported her “I heart Warren” button on her denim jacket. The part-time community counselor and die-hard Warren supporter said “this is the scariest time I can ever imagine.” She believes Warren is a “personable candidate” who can address the issues that keep her up at night. “I’m worried about healthcare, I’m worried about education, war, my children and grandchildren,” she says.

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Warren supporter Ellen Friedman
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Andre Mirabelli, 72, was happy to see Warren release a plan to tackle corruption earlier on Monday, saying its one of the main issues he believes is burdening American politics. “Gun control, abortion rights, healthcare — unless you have the right people in the room, nothing else matters,” he says.

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Warren supporter Andre Mirabelli
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Data analyst Sean Marrin, left, and law clerk Chris Sheppard came to the Warren rally together. Both supported Warren’s “big ideas” and her eagerness to bust up monopolies.

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Warren supporters Sean Marrin and Chris Sheppard
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

It briefly started to rain before the rally began, and scores of people pulled out their umbrellas.

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Temporary rain in Washington Square Park
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

But the rain didn’t deter the crowd. Many held light blue “I’m a Warren Democrat” signs as they waited for the rally to start.

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Warren supporters in New York City.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Warren campaign surrogates encouraged people to take selfies and upload them to social media as they warmed up the crowd for the Massachusetts senator.

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People taking selfies at the Warren rally.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Warren was met with raucous cheers when she took the stage at 7 p.m. local time. She immediately touted her endorsement from the Working Families Party, a major progressive group that previously backed Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016. Warren said if she is elected, “working families will have a champion!”

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Warren delivers a major speech in New York City.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Warren also spoke about the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which occurred only a few blocks away from the park. “We’re not here today because of famous arches or famous men. In fact, we’re not here because of men at all,” she said. “We’re here because of some hard-working women.” She drew parallels with the substantial workplace reforms enacted after the tragedy, and cited the efforts of advocate Frances Perkins, who later became President Franklin Roosevelt’s labor secretary.

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Warren speaks to supporters in New York City.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Warren characterized the tragedy as “a story about power.” She went on: “A story of what happens when the rich and the powerful take control of government and use it to increase their own profits while they stick it to working people. But what happened in the aftermath of the fire is a different story about power — a story about our power, a story about what’s possible when we fight together as one.”

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The Warren rally in New York City.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

Warren’s supporters were cheering and chanting throughout the evening, highlighting the enthusiasm the ascendant 2020 Democratic candidate is generating on the campaign trail. When she brought up her signature two percent wealth tax on the nation’s wealthiest people, the crowd broke into chants of “two cents.”

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Warren rally in New York City.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

The address lasted roughly 50 minutes, but for some the event didn’t end then. A volunteer reminded people they could take a selfie with Warren. The huge crowd numbered over 20,000 people, according to the campaign. Insider could not independently verify this number.

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The end of the Warren rally.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider

The selfie line was initially a muddled mess. But Warren stayed for over four hours to take pictures with supporters and the last one wrapped up as it neared midnight. Selfies with Warren are a campaign staple that will repeat the next day.

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Warren takes photos with supporters after the rally.
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Joseph Zeballos-Roig/Insider