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Elizabeth Warren opened her arms to working with Donald Trump on populist issues Thursday afternoon in a talk to the AFL-CIO, using her first public remarks since Democrats lost the presidency to reach out to his white, disaffected working-class voters.
Warren’s remarks represent a watershed moment for the Democratic Party as its leaders try to puzzle out how they will deal with a Trump presidency: Even as she denounced Trump’s “bigotry,’’ her message was that the progressive wing of the party is in line with Trump on many of the very issues that make the Republican elites uneasy with their next president.
She outlined common ground on regulating banks, protecting Social Security, opposing trade deals, college affordability, and rebuilding infrastructure.
As the Democratic Party faces a reckoning after Tuesday’s election results, Warren is positioning herself to reshape a party that, in the eyes of some analysts, no longer needs to bow down to the more moderate, pro-business Clinton wing. She’s also taking an early stab at shaping the Trump agenda, signaling areas that are popular to his base where she’s willing to work with him.
Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist who fired up liberal voters during his ultimately unsuccessful run for the nomination, echoed the same themes, offering to work with Trump on some issues while warning that his more extreme comments about banning Muslims or mass deportations are not acceptable.
“People have a right to be angry,” Sanders said in an interview with CNN. “There are a lot of areas where I think we can work together if he is sincere about what he said in the campaign.”
During her speech, Warren tried to draw a line between Trump and the leaders of his party. Both Trump and Warren have battled Republican leaders in their own ways at various times.
“Donald Trump won the presidency under a Republican flag,” Warren said. “But Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and the Republicans in Congress — and their way of doing business — were rejected, rejected by their own primary voters, rejected during the campaign, and rejected in Tuesday’s election.”