TAMPA (CNN) – On the eve of the next Democratic Presidential debate controversy is swirling after Bernie Sanders reportedly told Elizabeth Warren in a private meeting that “a woman can’t win” the presidential race.
CNN reports the conversation happened at Warren’s apartment in Washington, D.C. in December 2018 when the longtime friends were discussing how to best take on President Donald Trump.
While Warren reportedly said she believed she would be a strong presidential candidate, Sanders reportedly said otherwise.
Sanders denied the characterization of the meeting in a statement to CNN that reads as follows:
“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. “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. 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.”
The details of this conversation surfaced amid revelations first reported by Politico that volunteers for the Sanders campaign were given scripted talking points criticizing Warren and suggesting her supporters are elitist.
Warren’s office has yet to comment.
Sanders, Warren, and four other candidates will face off Tuesday night in Iowa for another debate just weeks before the first caucuses and primaries are held.