Bernie Sanders has been taking heat for reportedly saying that he doesn’t believe that a woman could defeat President Donald Trump in the upcoming election. However, the Senator from Vermont strongly denies ever saying anything like that, according to CNN.
Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren reportedly agreed during a meeting in 2018 not to attack each other personally during the campaign in the name of supporting the progressive movement. However — based on the accounts of four people allegedly familiar with the situation — it was recently reported that in that meeting Sanders said he didn’t think Warren could win because she was a woman.
Sanders said that his comments were taken out of context.
“What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”
Sanders said that he found the idea that he would criticize a woman to be “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,” Sanders said.
He also took issue with the staffers who commented on the meeting, characterizing their statements as lies.
“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,” he said.
Both conservatives and progressives have questioned whether Americans are ready to elect a woman as president and if a woman can stand up against Trump’s attacks during the upcoming campaign. Sanders has criticized the Democratic party for focusing on identity politics, saying that it doesn’t matter what color or gender a person is if they have policies that hurt Americans.
Warren, for her part, has focused on gender inequality in the country. She has shared her own experiences with sexism while serving in public office. She says that she has been told to smile more and to not show anger because she is a woman.
“I am angry and I own it,” she said in a campaign email in November.
In an obvious attack against @BernieSanders, @cnn just ran report citing "4 sources" that in Dec 2018 meeting bw Sanders @ewarren, Sanders said he didn't think a woman could beat Trump in 2020. Bernie is forcefully denying it–Warren campaign leaving it hanging by not commenting pic.twitter.com/dBuNQqkLiI
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) January 13, 2020
While there have been several women running in the Democratic primary, Warren is the only woman who has consistently maintained a strong lead in the wide field of presidential hopefuls.
CNN reports that while Sanders and Warren may have had an agreement to keep their relationship civil during the campaign, it appears that perhaps that pact is falling apart.