President Donald Trump sided with Sen. Bernie Sanders against Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the “sexism” row between the two progressive Democratic presidential candidates.
Speaking at Tuesday night rally in Milwaukee, Trump said he did not believe that Sanders, a Vermont Independent, has said a woman could not be elected to the White House in 2020, as alleged by Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat.
“I don’t believe that he said this because you know, I don’t know him. I don’t particularly like him. He’s a nasty guy … but it’s not his deal,” Trump said. “She said that Bernie stated strongly that a woman can’t win for president.
Trump added, laughing: “A woman can win for president, fortunately …”
The crowd erupted in cheers at the president’s apparent reference to beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
CNN first reported Monday that Sanders had told Warren during a private 2018 meeting that he did not believe a woman could become president. The article, which cited four people familiar with the meeting, also said the longtime friends agreed to avoid attacking each other during the campaign.
The candidates had largely kept up that reported pact until Warren took the unusual step Monday of confirming CNN’s reporting.
“Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed,” Warren said.
For his part, Sanders accused Warren’s staffers of “lying” to CNN and called the allegations against him “ludicrous.”
“What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could,” he said. “And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States,”
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At the Democratic debate in Des Moines, Iowa, hours after Trump’s rally, both Sanders and Warren held their ground.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders said when asked to address the controversy.
Moderator Brianne Pfannenstiel of The Des Moines Register immediately turned to Warren and asked, “Sen. Warren, what did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?”
“I disagreed,” Warren replied.
The conflict between the erstwhile allies has also spread to their supporters, creating a rift on the left that Trump no doubt welcomes.