Elizabeth Warren used her closing statement at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines to once again bring up violence against transgender people, especially women of color.
The U.S. senator from Massachusetts mentioned “how trans women, particularly trans women of color are at risk,” closing a debate that, like most previous ones, saw little discussion of LGBTQ issues.
This wasn’t the first time Warren had noted this epidemic of violence. At the September forum on LGBTQ issues cosponsored by The Advocate, she read the names of all the trans people who had been murdered so far in 2019. At the December debate in Los Angeles, she vowed to read the names of murdered trans people every year in the White House Rose Garden if she is elected president.
Warren also used her closing statement to note other topics that had not been addressed, such as student-loan forgiveness and disability rights. She further said she had “a heart filled with hope” for the future of the U.S.
She was part of one of the tenser exchanges in the debate as well. This week CNN reported that one of her Senate colleagues and rivals for the nomination, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, had told her a woman couldn’t win the presidency. Warren eventually said Sanders had indeed made that statement. At the Tuesday debate, Sanders continued to deny it.
“Anybody knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States,” Sanders said in response to moderator Abby Phillip, a CNN political correspondent. He pointed out that in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with nearly 3 million more votes than Donald Trump.
Phillip then asked Warren, however, “What did you think when Sen. Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” Warren replied, “I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.”
She pointed out that she and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the two women in the debate along with four men, were the only people on the stage who had won every election they had been in. She also noted that there had been questions about the electability of a Catholic, John F. Kennedy, in 1960, and an African-American, Barack Obama, in 2008, and both won the presidency. (She appeared to rebuff Sanders’s offer of a handshake after the debate.)
Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, agreed that a woman could win the presidency, but he said, “The real issue is who can bring the whole party together … brown, Black, white, gay, straight.” He said he had built “the broadest coalition” of any candidate on the stage.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., the only gay candidate in the debate, addressed the reports of his lackluster support among Black voters. “The Black voters who know me best are supporting me,” he said. “It’s why I have the most support in South Bend. It’s why among elected Black officials in my community who have gotten into this race, by far most of them are supporting me. Now, nationally, I’m proud that my campaign is cochaired by a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. And to have support right here in Iowa from some of the most recognizable Black elected leaders.”
But Buttigieg “didn’t address his miniscule polling support from black voters in South Carolina — a huge vulnerability that could hurt his campaign if that weakness is not corrected soon,” The New York Times notes.
There was much more — discussion of climate change, foreign policy, child care, and especially health care; find a full transcript at The Des Moines Register’s website. And check out some Twitter reaction to Warren below.