Sen. Elizabeth Warren attacked former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, comparing the billionaire businessman’s platform and persona to those of President Donald Trump. The audience responded with a collective gasp and some startled laughter, then followed by cheers and applause.
The Massachusetts senator said she would support any Democratic nominee. However, she countered that if Bloomberg were nominated, Democrats would be taking a huge risk, one where “we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” Rolling Stone reports.
During the opening minutes of the debate in Las Vegas, Bloomberg accused the Democratic front-runner, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, of seeking to strip millions of Americans of the “insurance plans that they love.” He also claimed that nominating Sanders would ensure America “has Donald Trump for another four years.”
Warren immediately raised her hand to offer a rebuke.
“I’d like to talk about who we are running against, a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians — and no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg,” Warren said in an even tone. “Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee with a history of his tax returns of harassing women and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop-and-frisk.”
Bloomberg attempted to change course, responding that a woman runs his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, that the most senior member of his administration in city hall was a woman, and that 40 percent of his city commissioners were women.
Warren offered a blunt retort, “I hope you heard what his defense was: I’ve been nice to some women.”
The debate exchange drew shock and praise on social media.
“Holy. Sh*t. Elizabeth. Warren,” Tommy Vietor, a former NSC spokesman for President Obama, wrote on Twitter.
“EAT HIM LIZ,” another user tweeted in all capital letters.
The assail on Bloomberg — who made his long-awaited debut on the debate stage last night — wasn’t over yet. Democrats grilled Bloomberg through the course of the night over his refusal to retract nondisclosure agreements signed by employees of Bloomberg L.P., which reportedly also binds women who have accused the billionaire of harassment. These accusations include allegations of “profane, [prejudiced] comments,” according to The Washington Post.
“None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told,” Bloomberg retorted.
When Warren asked him point-blank if he would allow women to break their nondisclosure agreements, he refused.
“If they wish now to speak out and tell their side of the story about what it is they alleged, that’s now okay with you?” Warren asked. “You’re releasing them on television tonight?”
“Senator — no,” Bloomberg said.