Jesse Watters responded to reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., held an upscale fundraiser at a Boston restaurant in 2018, fewer than two years before she called out South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg at last week's Democratic debate for holding a similar event.
"Pete's the poorest guy on stage ... the guy still has student loan debt ... [Elizabeth] Warren is a millionaire," Watters said Monday on "The Five."
Warren – who has eschewed fundraisers with top-dollar donors during her presidential bid and focused nearly entirely on small-dollar grassroots contributions – slammed Buttigieg for holding such fundraisers, prompting a back-and-forth between the candidates.
Warren highlighted that Buttigieg recently attended a fundraiser held "in a wine cave full of crystals and [was] served $900-a-bottle wine.”
“Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren said.
Firing back, Buttigieg said, “I’m literally the only person on this stage who’s not a millionaire or a billionaire.”
“This is the problem with issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass,” Buttigieg added. “Senator, your net worth is 100 times mine.”
Many have accused Warren of hypocrisy after reports surfaced over the weekend indicating that she had attended a similar fundraiser in June 2018, just months before she announced her candidacy for president. Singer Melissa Etheridge performed at the event, which offered VIP experiences to $2,700 donors and souvenir wine bottles for $1,000 donors.
Warren spokesman Chris Hayden issued a statement Saturday in response to an Associated Press report about the candidate's 2018 fundraiser.
“This event, which occurred before the Presidential campaign, was held at a large public music venue with multiple locations throughout the country, not an exclusive wine cave. Their most expensive bottle of wine is $49. As the invite shows, the minimum to get in was $100. It did not require a maxout donation to attend"
“When we made the decision to run the campaign this way, the players in the usual money-for-influence game dismissed it as naive,” Hayden continued. “We’re pleased that our 100 percent grassroots strategy has been so effective that they’re now threatened enough to be attacking us for it.”
Watters agreed with Buttigieg, questioning Warren's opposition to accepting money from large donors.
"Barack Obama could go to a wine cave fundraiser, cut a big check for Mayor Pete and all of a sudden that's corrupting? How is that corrupting," Watters asked.
"It doesn't make any sense at all ... and the Democrats, they did this to themselves. They create these kind of hypocritical traps for themselves, they demonize the wealthy and then they beg the wealthy for money in secret," Watters said, "and then they get shamed when they get caught."