Elizabeth Warren took the unusual step on Monday of confirming a report that fellow Democratic White House contender Bernie Sanders told her during a 2018 meeting that he did not believe a woman could win the 2020 presidential race.
Warren and Sanders are fellow U.S. senators, friends and their party's progressive standard-bearers who agreed early in the nominating contest to an informal non-aggression pact.
But amid escalating tensions between the two rivals and with the first nominating contest looming in early February, Warren pushed back against Sanders' denial of a CNN report detailing the meeting in which he told her he did not believe a woman could beat Republican President Donald Trump.
"I thought a woman could win; he disagreed," Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, said in a statement released late on Monday describing the two-hour meeting in December 2018.
In its report on the meeting, CNN cited four people with knowledge of it, including two with whom Warren spoke about it soon after and another two who were familiar with what happened at the meeting.
Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, told CNN it was "ludicrous" that he would tell Warren a woman could not win. "What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could," he added.
Sanders' campaign did not immediately respond to a request to comment on Warren's confirmation of the CNN account.
"I have no interest in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have far more in common than our differences in punditry," Warren said.
The tussle between the two progressive senators is the second in as many days after Politico reported on Sunday that Sanders' campaign had distributed talking points for volunteers on what to say to voters who are thinking of supporting his main rivals.
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