Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday said he did not tell Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during a private December 2018 meeting while both were preparing their presidential campaigns that he did not believe a woman could win the presidency.
Sanders denied ever making the statement during the Democratic debate on Tuesday night in Iowa. Warren, asked about the conversation minutes later, said she disagreed with Sanders at the time.
“As a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders said.
“Anyone who knows me knows that it is incomprehensible that I do not think a woman could be president of the United States,” he added.
“Bernie is my friend, and I’m not here to fight with Bernie,” Warren said moments later.
She did, however, note that the women on the debate stage were the only ones to have never lost an election they’ve run in.
“The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women: [Sen.] Amy [Klobuchar (D-Minn.)] and me,” she quipped. “And the only person who has beaten an incumbent Republican any time in the past 30 years is me.”
The exchange was an extraordinary moment between the two progressive candidates, who have made a point of not battling one another but have seen underlying tensions break into public view over the last several days.
Their comments came after both released similar statements about the issue on Monday, but this was the first time they discussed the matter on camera.
CNN first reported on Monday that sources said Sanders told Warren he did not believe a woman could win the presidential election. He offered a lengthy, on-the-record denial as part of the story, saying that it was “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.”