WASHINGTON – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., confirmed Monday night that Sen. Bernie Sanders “disagreed” a woman could beat President Donald Trump to become president while the two 2020 candidates were discussing the upcoming election.
Warren’s comments on the December 2018 conversation followed several media reports on that discussion citing anonymous sources.
Warren claims that she and Sanders met “to discuss the 2020 election, our past work together and our shared goals: beating Donald Trump, taking back our government from the wealthy and well-connected, and building an economy that works for everyone.”
“Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate,” she continued. “I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.”
Warren and her campaign had been silent on the issue after it broke Monday afternoon. Sanders and his campaign denied any such comment was made.
“It is a lie,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in response to media reports. “Bernie Sanders has always fought and stood for woman and women’s rights.”
“We need to hear from her directly, but I know what she would say that it is not true that it is a lie,” Shakir stated.
For his part, Sanders said that the report was “ludicrous” in a lengthy statement Monday.
“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,” Sanders said. “Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”
The conflicting accounts could lead to a tense match-up between the two progressives who will take part in Tuesday’s Democratic debate in Iowa. Monday’s incident comes on the heels of a recent report from Politico that a Sanders campaign staffer was using a script when calling potential voters that criticized Warren.
Warren said that she “was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me” while Sanders denied any prior knowledge of the volunteer script.
However, Warren continued in her statement Monday that she has “no interest in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have far more in common than on our differences on punditry.”
“We have been friends and allies in this fight for a long time, and I have no doubt we will continue to work together to defeat Donald Trump and put our government on the side of the people,” she concluded.
Contributing: Jeanine Santucci