LAS VEGAS — The gloves have come off in the opening moments of the Nevada presidential debate, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren taking on Mike Bloomberg for calling "women fat broad and horse faced lesbians."
The Massachusetts senator on Wednesday night in Las Vegas referred to comments attributed to Bloomberg in a story published online this week by The Washington Post. Warren went on to say that four years of President Donald Trump is not "substituting one arrogant billionaire for another."
"Democrats won’t win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, harassing women, and supporting racist policies like stop and frisk and redlining. Understand this: Democrats take a huge risk if we substitute one arrogant billionaire for another," Sen. Warren said during the debate.
Mike Bloomberg has tried to fend off demands from several of his Democratic presidential rivals that he release former female employees from any nondisclosure agreements concerning allegations of workplace harassment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren put Bloomberg on the spot at Wednesday night's debate in Las Vegas, asking the former New York City mayor to release women from these agreements and saying his defense doesn't cut it.
Bloomberg has previously been accused of fostering a hostile work environment for some female employees.
Bloomberg says he has “no tolerance” for such behavior and that he saw the agreements in question as consensual and not up to him to dissolve. He went on to say that none of the agreements “accuse me of doing anything other than, maybe they didn't like a joke I told,” a response met with boos from the debate audience.
Former Vice President Joe Biden also said he felt Bloomberg could just say the word to release anyone from the agreements.
The Democratic debate is the first to feature Bloomberg, who has opted not to compete in the four early-voting states.
The rival campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden started even before the debate, taking pre-debate shots at the former New York mayor. It all shows how seriously Democrats are taking Bloomberg, now that he’s rocketed to double-digit support in national polls, and qualified for the next two debates.
Bloomberg has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ads and courted black voters whose support will be crucial to winning the Democratic nomination.
The former New York mayor and media mogul would sell his business interests if elected president with a top campaign adviser saying Bloomberg would sell the financial data and media company that bears his name, if elected into the White House.