- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts confirmed multiple Monday reports that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont told her in an October 2018 meeting that he didn’t believe a woman could be president.
- He made the comment during a private meeting with Warren in December 2018 before she launched her campaign, CNN, which first broke the story, reported.
- Sanders vehemently denied the reports on Monday, but Warren later confirmed them in a lengthy statement.
- She said that when they were discussing what would happen if the Democrats picked a female nominee, “I thought a woman could win, he disagreed.”
- The explosive story will likely be brought up during Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate and as the truce between the Warren and Sanders campaigns shows signs of fraying.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts confirmed multiple Monday reports that Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont told her in an October 2018 meeting that he didn’t believe a woman could be president.
Sanders made the comment to Warren in a closed-door meeting between the two of them in December 2018, CNN, which first broke the story, reported.
But after mounting pressure for her personally to speak out, Warren released a statement confirming the reports on Monday night. She said that in the 2018 meeting, when they were discussing what would happen if the Democrats choose a female nominee, “I thought a woman could win, he disagreed.”
Sanders and Warren, who have been longtime friends and publicly champion the progressive movement, met to discuss their electoral strategy before entering the 2020 presidential race in what Warren said was a two-hour meeting that touched on many subjects.
Warren said that she has “no interest in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have far more in common than our differences in punditry,” adding, “we have been friends and allies in this fight for a long time” of Sanders.
According to CNN, Warren laid out two reasons she believed she was well positioned to beat President Donald Trump: She could make a strong argument for economic growth and garner support from female voters. Sanders responded that he didn’t think a woman could win the election.
Specifically, according to The Times, Sanders told Warren that Trump would employ sexism to hurt her chances against him and that his attacks would stop her from winning the race.
News reports detailing the interaction cited several people who said they heard an account of the conversation directly from Warren in the weeks that followed.
Sanders, who has skyrocketed in recent polls and hauled in more than $US30 million in fundraising in the last quarter of 2019, slammed the characterization of the meeting in a statement to CNN.
“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” the Vermont senator said.
He added: “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”
Sanders’ campaign manager later weighed in as well, saying the reports were “a lie.”
Revelations about the explosive meeting come one day before the seventh Democratic presidential debate, which will take place in Iowa and is hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register.
In order to qualify, candidates had to secure 225,000 unique donors and earn 5% in four DNC-approved national polls or 7% in two DNC-approved early state polls released between November 16 and January 10.
Of the candidates who met the donor threshold, Andrew Yang obtained just one qualifying poll, and Sen.Cory Booker, who dropped out of the presidential race altogether on January 13, had zero. That means this week’s Democratic debate will be the first to have no candidates of colour onstage.
Monday’s media reports about the Sanders-Warren meeting will likely be brought up during the debate. It will probably add fuel to the fire as the truce between the two senators’ campaigns has shown signs of fraying in recent days.
Politico reported over the weekend that the Sanders campaign created a script that painted Warren as an elitist candidate.
Specifically, according to Politico, the script described the Massachusetts senator as someone who appeals to “highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what” and that she would bring “no new bases to the Democratic party.”
Sanders later denied knowing anything about the script, saying it had come from someone who “[said] things that they shouldn’t [have].”
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