Elizabeth Warren has come out strongly in support of Bernie Sanders after the Vermont senator was criticized by the CEO of Goldman Sachs.
One of the highlights of Sanders’ presidential campaign so far has been his relentless attack on America’s rigged economic system — and by extension the corporate greed that engulfs Wall Street — something which has seen him upset the odds to give Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton a run for her money.
So, it was no surprise when Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, in an effort which represented the general feeling pervading Wall Street, criticized Bernie Sanders for his attacks on Wednesday. In an interview with CNBC, Blankfein said that Sanders’ constant criticism of Wall Street has created an environment that “has the potential to be a dangerous moment — not just for Wall Street, not just for the people who are particularly targeted, but for anybody who is a little bit out of line.”
But while Blankfein hoped that his comments would strike a chord with the higher echelons of America’s corporate pyramid, it has instead drawn strong criticism from Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren. Speaking to IBT on Wednesday, Warren — whose endorsement is coveted by both Democratic candidates — slammed Blankfein for continuing to make enormous sums of money “after destroying the economy.”
“He thinks it’s fine to prosecute small business owners, it’s fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don’t criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO — that’s what he’s really saying.”
Blankfein and Goldman Sachs have been regular targets for Bernie Sanders over the past few months, with the Vermont senator citing the Goldman Sachs billionaire as a prime example of the corporate greed he says is harming the United States. His campaign also released a television advertisement that explicitly names Goldman Sachs as a contributor to America’s rigged economic system, while his criticism of Clinton for having received $675,000 in speaking fees and $930,000 of campaign contributions from the firm and its executives during her career has been already well-documented.
In fact, having to defend herself constantly from Sanders’ attacks, Clinton stumbled to an awkward answer on Wednesday night when, in reply to an audience member’s question on why she had accepted the $675,000 payment from Goldman Sachs, she merely said: “Because that is what they offered me.”
And while Sanders has evidently struck a chord with millions of hard-working Americans who believe that Wall Street reforms are the need of the hour, Elizabeth Warren is the first politician of her stature to have openly joined Bernie Sanders’ in his criticism of Goldman Sachs and corporate America.
She said it is important for American voters to engage with the problems of corporate greed in a big way during the 2016 elections.
“When Blankfein says that criticizing those who break the rules is dangerous to the economy, then he’s just repeating another variation of ‘too big to fail,’ ‘too big to jail,’ ‘too big even to prosecute.’ That tells you here we are, seven years after the crisis and these guys still don’t get it. Seven years. That crisis cost an estimated $14 trillion, it cost jobs, it cost homes, it cost retirement funds. And Lloyd Blankfein stands up and says ‘Don’t even criticize me, I ran a company that was right at the heart of some of the biggest financial frauds in history and made money off it, but don’t you dare criticize me.’ That’s his position? That’s why we need voters to get really engaged.”
Although Elizabeth Warren stopped just short of endorsing Bernie Sanders as her preferred presidential candidate, she echoed the Vermont senator’s beliefs that in a country like America, while it is almost impossible not to be tried for a small offense, say, like drug possession, it is easier for Wall Street corporate criminals to get away with major fraud. “In a time when literally thousands of people are being locked up every year for non-violent drug offenses or stealing a car, the CEO of a giant bank can help engineer the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars — and he gets a raise,” Warren said during the interview, a thought reminiscent of Sanders’ own line of attack against Wall Street.
It remains to be seen if Elizabeth Warren officially endorses Bernie Sanders in the coming days, but by all accounts, it is a probability which could soon come to fruition.
[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]