- Sen. Bernie Sanders told a reporter on Wednesday that he and Sen. Elizabeth Warren were discussing “the weather” during a viral moment the night before.
- At the end of Tuesday night’s debate in Iowa, Sanders and Warren could be seen talking and then walking off without shaking hands as billionaire Tom Steyer looked on.
- The moment prompted a great deal of speculation amid a growing rift between the two progressive, top-tier candidates.
- Later Wednesday, CNN released audio showing that Sanders’ claim was false, and Warren has accused him of calling her a “liar on national TV.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday said he was talking about “the weather” with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a viral moment at the end of Tuesday’s debate in Iowa.
There was much speculation about the exchange, in which Sanders and Warren could be seen talking and then walking off without shaking hands as billionaire Tom Steyer looked on.
“This is not warm and cuddly.”
CNN’s @DavidAxelrod reacts to a seemingly chilly interaction between Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders just moments after the conclusion of the #DemDebate. https://t.co/E1MSK5ItS7 pic.twitter.com/4XQZHbHLj9
— CNN (@CNN) January 15, 2020
On Wednesday, NBC News reporter Gary Grumbach asked Sanders what he was discussing with the Massachusetts senator after the debate. “About the weather,” Sanders said in response.
Later Wednesday CNN released audio, showing that Sanders’ account of the exchange was false, and that Warren had accused him of calling him a “liar on national TV.”
Sanders responded by saying, “Let’s not talk about that now,” before saying that she had accused him of being a liar in the debate.
Tuesday night’s viral exchange came amid a growing rift between the two progressive candidates, which was exacerbated this week when a report came out alleging Sanders told Warren in a 2018 meeting that he did not believe a woman could win the presidential election.
Sanders has vehemently denied the accusation, but Warren has commented publicly on it and contradicted him. “I thought a woman could win, he disagreed,” Warren said in a statement.
The topic came up again during Tuesday night’s debate, in which Sanders once again denied the allegation as Warren doubled-down.
MODERATOR: You’re saying that you never told Sen. Warren that a women could not win the election.
SANDERS: That is correct.
MODERATOR: Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election.
WARREN: I disagreed. pic.twitter.com/8UUKONNaCY
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) January 15, 2020
The Sanders-Warren spat has sparked a great deal of discussion among political commentators and pundits about the difference between harbouring the sexist belief that a woman is not qualified to be president versus believing that there is still too much sexism in the US for a woman to be successful in a presidential election.
Amid the disagreement between the two senators over what was said in the 2018 meeting, a number of pundits have suggested that Sanders was expressing concern to Warren that President Donald Trump would weaponize misogyny if a woman won the 2020 Democratic nomination.
The dispute between Sanders and Warren comes as they both vie for supremacy with the Democratic left, or the progressive wing of the party. Up until the past week or so, both had been cordial to one another. But the gloves are off with less than a month until the Iowa caucuses.
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