Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., ramped up the tension with fellow progressive presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Monday night, saying she "thought a woman could win" the White House race, but he "disagreed."
Warren's statement followed a CNN report citing four accounts of a December 2018 meeting between Warren and Sanders, the two progressive rivals in the primary contest, claiming Sanders told Warren he did not believe a women could win the race. Sanders denied the report.
"Bernie and I met for more than two hours in December 2018 to discuss the 2020 election, our past work together and our shared goals: beating Donald Trump, taking back our government from the wealthy and well-connected, and building an economy that works for everyone. Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed," Warren said in her statement.
She continued, "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. 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. 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."
"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 said earlier, in a statement provided to Fox News. "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."
Sanders also took the opportunity to slam President Trump, stating, "What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could."
The Vermont senator went on to say he did believe a woman could win the race, referencing the popular vote in the 2016 election.
"Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course!" he said. "After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016." Trump, however, defeated Clinton in the electoral vote.
Politico reported earlier on a series of talking points from the Sanders campaign that aimed to paint Warren as a candidate attracting "highly educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what."
The script added, "She's bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party."
Speaking on Sunday in Iowa, Warren said she was disappointed in the talking points from Sanders' campaign and said it ultimately will divide voters at the Democrats' peril.
"I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me," Warren told reporters. "Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time. He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for."
Fox News' Mike Arroyo, Andrew O'Reilly and Tara Prindiville contributed to this report.