Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and leaked comments about women – a complete run-down of the biggest political feud of the primaries

Louis Staples
Tuesday 14 January 2020 10:30
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Image:(Getty)

The world of politics can be tough on friendships – even between political allies.

This is why, when Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both announced that they’d be seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, many on the left drew a sharp intake of breath.

Up until this point, the progressive senators have been fierce allies, having appeared at events together, co-signed legislation and exchanged many warm words over the years. It’s easy to see why, because give or take a few minor differences, the pair occupy similar political turf and have a common goal: taking the power away from billionaires and into the hands of ordinary people.

Since the 2020 campaign started, Warren and Sanders have largely held off on attacking each other, instead taking aim at most centrist candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden.

But now, sadly, the alliance between Sanders and Warren is appearing to fracture.

As the polls tighten and the first primary vote in Iowa approaches, Warren expressed disappointment after a leaked memo revealed that the Sanders campaign was planning on characterising her supporters as wealthy elitists.

She said:

I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me.

Bernie knows me, and has known me for a long time. He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for…

The Sanders campaign didn’t challenge the veracity of the reports. But when it comes to new allegations that have been made against Sanders by Warren, he’s strongly pushing back.

Reports have emerged that, at a private meeting in 2018, Sanders said that he didn’t think a woman could win the 2020 election.

According to CNN, two people Warren spoke to directly after the meeting said that they both agreed to stay civil during the presidential campaign and talked about how to best defeat president Trump.

When Warren reportedly pointed out that she would be a strong candidate, Sanders allegedly replied that the odds are against women.

Warren then confirmed that Sanders had said something like this, saying:

Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.

Sanders has strongly denied the report on how the meeting unfolded, calling it “ludicrous”.

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.

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.

Now a debate is swirling about how these remarks came to light.

Some people have accused Warren of deliberately leaking the comments.

But others think that’s unlikely, given the optics aren't great for Warren either.

Ultimately, we'll probably never find out exactly how this information came to light. But it seems like Warren vs Sanders is a feud that both senators are likely to lose.

More: Elizabeth Warren tried to speak millennial and it went predictably wrong

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