CNN: At a CNN town hall in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) urged her fellow Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to sign a contract the senator wrote herself that would release people who have made allegations of sexist and misogynistic behavior against Bloomberg from nondisclosure agreements.
Warren said Bloomberg should be disqualified from running for president based on his alleged past treatment of women, but then confirms that she would support him if he were the Democratic nominee against President Donald Trump.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Now, you just heard from former Vice President Joe Biden. And now to another Democrat who’s fighting for a strong showing in Saturday’s caucuses. Please welcome Senator Elizabeth Warren.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Good to see you.
BURNETT: Good to see you again. Thank you.
WARREN: So, I’ve brought something with me today. Now last night, in the debate — if I can, just for a minute here, last night in the debate, I had an exchange with Mayor Bloomberg about the question about sexual harassment and discrimination, that it occurred, and there have been many allegations about this, and he said on the stage that, no, it had just really been about a few jokes that he had told, that people hadn’t been able to take a joke.
And that — but the people on the other side, we think mostly women, had to sign non-disclosure agreements, which means they are legally bound not to tell their side of the story, he can tell his side of the story, but they can’t tell theirs. And so I asked him if he would release all of those people from the non-disclosure agreements.
This is an election for president of the United States, and transparency here is important. So I used to teach contract law. And I thought I would make this easy.
WARREN: I wrote up a release and covenant not to sue. And all that Mayor Bloomberg has to do is download it. I’ll text it.
WARREN: Sign it. And then the women, or men, will be free to speak and tell their own stories.
And if I can, I just want to read the relevant language. “Bloomberg and the company release any and all obligations contained in any agreement, including but not limited to, any employment settlement, severance, or non-disclosure agreement between Bloomberg and/or the company and any other person to the extent those obligations preclude the other person from disclosing information relating to sexual harassment, discrimination, or other misconduct at the company or by Bloomberg himself. Under this release, it is now the other person’s choice to disclose such information or not.”
I think that the mayor should sign this and that we all have a right to see.
BURNETT: So last night at the debate, when you talked about the this with him, you know, look, you came at him, you went right at him, you called him — you were quoting, a billionaire who calls women “fat broads” and “horse-faced lesbians.” That’s what you said last night. Now one of his responses…
WARREN: Let me just be clear. That’s what he said. I was quoting him on those words.
BURNETT: So his response — one of his responses to what you said, was that maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.
BURNETT: That he was implying this was an off-color joke that he made. What’s your reaction to that?
WARREN: That just doesn’t cut it.
BURNETT: So do you think that would be disqualifying in and of itself to be president of the United States?
WARREN: Yes, I do. I think that when a man, who is a billionaire — you know, can we all just remember the power relationship about what’s going on here? Who calls people names like “fat broad” and “horse-faced lesbian,” and who knows what else, because of the non-disclosure agreements, that when a man who is a billionaire throws that kind of thing out there, and then when someone finally — think what that must be like, to work in a company or to be someone else trying to make it in that field, and you’re up against the owner of the company, a multi-multi-billionaire, someone finally says, this is bad enough, I’m going to raise a complaint, I’m going to go to a lawyer, or I’m going to go to H.R., I’m going to raise a complaint.
You’ve got to admit, that takes a lot to be able to do that, and that the consequence of it is he dumps some money on it and then stuffs a gag in the woman’s mouth. If he’s not willing to remove those gags and let those women and maybe those men talk, then he is disqualified from being president of the United States.
BURNETT: So you have said, and this is important, when you say disqualifying, because you have said you’ll support the Democratic nominee for president.
WARREN: I will support the Democratic nominee.
BURNETT: What if it’s Michael Bloomberg?
WARREN: Look, I will support the Democratic nominee because i believe that everyone on that stage would make a better president than Donald Trump. I’m in.
BURNETT: So I just want to be clear, you would support Michael Bloomberg even though he called someone a “horse-faced lesbian”?
WARREN: Look, but what we’ve got right now is a chance for the Nevada voters to make sure that Michael Bloomberg is not our nominee, and that’s what I’m asking for.
BURNETT: So but you just said he should be disqualified.
WARREN: I do believe he should be disqualified and I’m out here making that pitch to the voters every single day. They will make the decision whether he’s disqualified or not, in the same way that the Republicans made the decision whether or not Donald Trump was disqualified. I’d like to think the Democratic Party is better than having an arrogant billionaire who harasses women and engages in sexual discrimination for its leader.
BURNETT: But how would you be able to support him then if he’s the nominee?
WARREN: Look, at the end of the day, it’s going to be Donald Trump versus someone and what I can guarantee is, I’m liking someone.
WARREN: I may not like him very much, but I’m liking him.