Thursday on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) declared her support for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the heels of the announcement President Barack Obama would be supporting Clinton as well.
Warren emphasized her desire not to see presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump win this fall’s contest and touted Clinton’s ability to “throw a punch when necessary.”
Partial transcript as follows:
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: But in this Democratic Party right now, there is also another force outside of the Obama/Biden White House that frankly has a hell of a megaphone and a hell of an audience and a ton of influence right now. And that person is Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
She now has also made a decision about who to endorse in this year’s presidential election. She waited until President Obama made his call earlier today. Frankly, it was a source of great consternation and agita to a lot of people in the Democratic Party that she didn’t choose between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during the primary.
But tonight, she’s here to talk about the choice that she has now made. And I don’t mean here in the larger sense, I mean here specifically on set with me.
Joining us now, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Thank you so much for being here.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you. I’m delighted to be here. I’m glad you made to it Washington.
MADDOW: Yes. Just barely.
WARREN: Thank you.
MADDOW: I am still wearing jeans. I didn’t have time to change all the way.
WARREN: That’s all right.
MADDOW: It’s all right.
So, I understand that you intend to endorse Hillary Clinton tonight? I’d like to hear it.
WARREN: Yes, I’m ready. I am ready to get in this fight and work my heart out for Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States and to make sure that Donald Trump never gets any place close to the White House.
MADDOW: Why did you not endorse during the primary? What was your thinking during the primary, holding out when so many other Democratic senators, all the women Democratic senators, almost all the men Democratic senators, got on board with Hillary Clinton — Senator Sanders had Jeff Merkley. You were one of few holdouts who didn’t endorse either one. What was your thinking about that?
WARREN: I thought that the primary was really important. And it was an opportunity for Democrats to get out there and show, this is what it means to be a Democrat. We got out there and pushed those issues forward and we made sure that the American people saw the kind of thinking we have, the kind of energy we have, and what makes us very different from those guys on the other side.
MADDOW: So, you think the primary was — it was a long primary.
WARREN: I know that.
MADDOW: It was a tough contested primary. Some people worried that that was softening up the eventual Democratic nominee too much for the general.
But you think it was constructive?
WARREN: I do think it’s constructive.
And I also think that what Bernie Sanders did was just powerfully important. He ran — he ran a campaign from the heart. And he ran a campaign where he took these issues and he really thrust them into the spotlight.
And he also brought — these are issues near and dear to my heart. And he brought millions of people into the political process. He brought millions of people into the Democratic Party.
And for me, that’s what this is all about. I take my cue on every part of this from Bernie himself and what he said right at the beginning. He said, this campaign, he said, what this is about, what here doing here, is about millions of people across this country, millions of people who work hard every day and just keep getting slammed.
It is not about one candidate. It’s not even about one election. It’s about all of us coming together to help fight to level the playing field, to make sure that everybody gets a fighting chance.
MADDOW: Do you feel like Senator Sanders’ supporters, and indeed Senator Sanders himself, who was independent until five minutes before this race, do you feel like they have a home in the Democratic Party right now, for real, or do you think the Democratic Party needs to do more, needs to change more, in order to be a natural home for those folks?
WARREN: The way I see this is that there is a very big and important home here. That I think about what’s at stake in this election. And I think about what happens if the Republicans have the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives.
Say good-bye to the Affordable Care Act. That means 20 million people who lose their health insurance, just like that.
Say good-bye to Dodd-Frank and all of the financial reforms and efforts to try to rein in Wall Street. Just say good-bye to it. That means we can go where Wall Street gets to call the shots again. We saw how that worked out in 2008.
And say good-bye to a Supreme Court that is truly open and balanced and looking out for the American people. Instead the Republicans just want to capture a right-wing court for another whole generation.
I look at those things and I think about what’s at stake. It’s literally people’s lives. It’s our economy. It is the very fabric of our democracy. For me, that’s the heart of what the Democratic Party stands for. That is what we fight for. That’s why we’re in this fight. That’s why we’ve got to win.
MADDOW: And when you make that case, that is — that’s a case about worrying about what happens if the Democrats do not win.
A lot of people I think, not just Sanders supporters, but I think a lot of people look at Donald Trump as the Republican nominee and they think, actually, my vote is not needed on the Democratic side this time because Donald Trump is a terrible nominee, he’s not only going to lose, but it’s going to have knock-on effects where the Republicans are going to get wiped out up and down the ballot. Hillary Clinton isn’t liberal enough for me, I’d rather write in Bernie, I’ll vote Green Party. I’ll vote libertarian or something.
What do you say to those folks?
WARREN: Look, the Republicans underestimated and underestimated and underestimated Donald Trump. And look where that got them. They kept saying, no, no, no, that’s not going to happen, we don’t have to worry about that.
Donald Trump is a genuine threat to this country. He is a threat economically to this country. But he is a threat to who we are as a people. There is an ugly side to Donald Trump that we all have to stop and think about what’s going on here.
Look, I’ll pick one example when we talk about him and that is the housing crisis. Remember where Donald Trump was in this? In 2007, before the big explosion in 2008, a lot of people are starting to look around and say, whoa, we’ve got an inflated bubble here, there’s going to be trouble coming.
And Donald Trump said — was quoted. He was excited for the crash because he knew how to make money off it. He was rooting for an economic crash because it was going to help line his pockets.
What kind of a person does something like that? What kind of a person roots for people to be kicked out of their home? What kind of a person does that?
It’s a person who is an insecure money-grubber who cares about nothing but himself. He doesn’t care who gets hurt, as long as he makes a profit off it. That cannot, cannot be the man who leads the United States of America.
MADDOW: Is there — do you have a feeling, do you feel like there’s Elizabeth Warren-specific advice coming from where you come from, the issues you care about the people who you have so much influence with because of the way you talk about these issues, is — do you have a prescription for how the Democratic Party’s primary should wrap up?
Senator Sanders has a rally tonight in D.C. He’s going to compete in the D.C. primary. He says he’s going right through to the convention, we don’t know exactly what that means. But he was talking tonight at this rally, said, you know, when I am president, I’m going to use my executive authority.
I mean, do you have a prescription for how this primary should end?
WARREN: I think that it’s clear now that we need to start thinking about all of this together and we need to think about the difference between us and the difference — and the Republicans. That’s for me what the heart of this is about.
But, you know, I want to add another part to this because I think it really matters here. And I like our talking back and forth but I want to get this on the table and get it on the table early. Hillary Clinton won. And she won because she’s a fighter, she’s out there, she’s tough.
And I think this is what we need. Look at who she is. For 25 years, she’s been taking the incomings, right? The right wing has thrown everything they possibly can at her.
And what does she do? A lot of people would just hang up their spurs. They’d say, you know, I’ve had enough of this. And she doesn’t. What she’s done is she gets back up and she gets back in the fight.
As a Democrat, one of the things that frustrates me the most is there are a lot of times we just don’t get in the fight. We ask pretty please if we can have things or we make the argument for why it is the best thing to do, and then wait patiently for the other side to agree to come along. We negotiate. We start our opening position by negotiating.
You know, and I get that. I get the reason that you should be willing to negotiate sometimes. But you also ought to be willing to throw a punch.
And there are a lot of things that people say about Hillary Clinton. But nobody says that she doesn’t know how to throw a punch.
MADDOW: As somebody — I agree with you, both on the perseverance and on the fighter characterization of Hillary Clinton. I think that’s the most important way to understand her political power, her willingness to never give up. We have gone 240 years in this country without a woman ever being nominated for president, let alone elected one.
MADDOW: Her aggression and her stance as a fighter in politics, does that make her more palatable to a country who apparently has a real problem with this concept, or less? Does that make it harder for her?
SANDERS: You know, to me, this isn’t about palatable anymore. This is about what we need to survive. This is about whether or not we are going to have a country that just works for the Donald Trumps of the world, that just works for a handful of the largest corporations of the world, or a country that really is building an economic future for all of us.
And yes, I think having a fighter in the lead, a female fighter in the lead, is exactly what this country needs.
MADDOW: One of the things that people are gaming out right now is the prospect not just of having a female nominee at the top of the Democratic ticket, but possibly having an all-female ticket.
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