Sen. Elizabeth Warren, campaigning in Iowa on Monday, said Sen. Bernie Sanders told her in a 2018 meeting that he did not think a woman would win the U.S. presidency.
Warren, D-Massachusetts, said Sanders made the comment during a one-on-one meeting between the two in December 2018, according to a report by CNN that was confirmed by several other media outlets.
“Among the topics that came up (in the 2018 meeting) was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed,” Warren said. “I have no interest in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have far more in common than our differences on punditry.”
Sanders, I-Vermont, denied he made the comment.
"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 told CNN in a statement. "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 New York Times cited people who were reportedly briefed on the meeting as saying that Sanders made the comment while telling Warren that he believed President Donald Trump would use sexism against any female opponent.
Kristen Orthman, the Warren campaign’s communications director, released a statement from Warren late Monday.
In the statement, Warren said she wanted to shut down the conversation over the comment.
Warren said she had "no interest in discussing this private meeting any further" because "Bernie and I have far more in common than our differences on punditry."
"I'm in this race to talk about what's broken in this country and how to fix it -- and that's what I'm going to continue to do. I know Bernie is in the race for the same reason," she said. "We have been friends and allies in this fight for a long time, and I have no doubt we will continue to work together to defeat Donald Trump and put our government on the side of the people."
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, wrote on Twitter that she had also met with Mr. Sanders before she announced that she would run for president.
“We had a nice one-on-one conversation and I informed him that I would be running for president,” Gabbard tweeted. “In that meeting, he showed me the greatest respect and encouragement, just as he always has.”
Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sander’s campaign, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Sanders would not tell Warren that a woman could not win the U.S. presidency.
Both sides will likely be heard from again on the matter as the two meet in Des Moines, Iowa, for Tuesday’s Democratic debate.