Elizabeth Warren Endorses Clinton and Goes Taunt-for-Taunt With Trump – New York Times

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy 2016 National Convention on Thursday in Washington. [Nick Wass | Associated Press]

WASHINGTON — Now that Senator Bernie Sanders is all but out of the race, Democrats can unite to take aim at Donald J. Trump. Their new sledgehammer is Senator Elizabeth Warren.

In her day job, Ms. Warren cuts an imperious swath through the Capitol, striding down hallways, her jewel-toned jacket swaying behind her, refusing to speak to or even make eye contact with reporters. Small talk with elevator operators and other staff? Not her style. And the Democrat from Massachusetts is rarely front and center pushing major legislation.

But beyond Mr. Sanders, no one captivates the aggrieved, angry left the way Ms. Warren does.

“What she is doing right now, focusing on the outrageousness of Donald Trump is really important,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin. “In the universal sense I am always saying, ‘Go, Elizabeth, go!’”

Ms. Warren officially endorsed Hillary Clinton on Thursday. “I’m ready to jump in this fight and make sure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States and be sure that Donald Trump gets nowhere near the White House,” Ms. Warren told The Boston Globe.

Never short on confidence, when asked on Thursday by Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC television host, if she believes that she herself could be commander in chief, Ms. Warren said, “Yes, I do.”

Mrs. Clinton’s aides had been pressuring Ms. Warren for an endorsement, and the senator decided to do so after talking with Mr. Sanders over the weekend, aides close to her said.

Ms. Warren shares Mr. Sanders’s dislike of superdelegates, who are typically longtime Democratic officials and activists. She waited until Democratic primary voters across the country had their say, but before the superdelegates formally cast their votes, to weigh in.

Mrs. Clinton’s decisive victory in California’s primary on Tuesday and President Obama’s endorsement on Thursday provided additional impetus for her endorsement, people close to Ms. Warren said.

“She maintained her neutrality in the primary and that gave her a special space,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois.

But her attacks on Mr. Trump were hatched in her own brain, and carried out with a combination of vehemence and apparent pleasure.

Through speeches, carefully chosen television appearances and tweet storms designed to skewer the businessman’s remarks, policies and dynamism, Ms. Warren has gone taunt-for-taunt with Mr. Trump, calling him a “loser,” a “small, insecure money grubber and “weak.” And she is only warming up.

“Donald Trump says they ought to look into Judge Curiel because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace,” Ms. Warren said Thursday night in a speech to the American Constitution Society, addressing Mr. Trump’s attack on a federal judge, Gonzalo P. Curiel, based on his Hispanic heritage. “No, Donald, what you are doing is a total disgrace. Race-baiting a judge who spent years defending America from the terror of murderers and drug traffickers simply because long ago his family came to America from somewhere else. You, Donald Trump, are a total disgrace.”

Ms. Warren has not confined her attacks on Republicans to Mr. Trump. She engaged Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, this week on the Senate floor when she tried to single-handedly move to confirm some judges Republicans are blocking.

“The Senate’s job is to provide advice and consent on the president’s judicial nominees,” Ms. Warren lectured as Mr. McConnell was forced to look on, before objecting. “There is no asterisk that says only when the majority leader has an embarrassing political problem or except when the president is named Barack Obama,” she said.

This spring, Ms. Warren, 66, embarked on a long string of ornery slaps at Mr. Trump on his favored forum, Twitter, calling his candidacy a “serious threat” and calling him “a loser.” She also called him out directly in one Twitter message that said: “Your policies are dangerous. Your words are reckless. Your record is embarrassing. And your free ride is over.”

Mr. Trump, whose thin skin becomes almost translucent when attacked on social media, responded by calling Ms. Warren “the Indian” and “Pocahontas” in reference to her disputed Cherokee heritage.

Democrats are rather gleeful about Ms. Warren’s role, because of her high profile and her stark contrast to Mr. Trump. She is also unlike Mr. Sanders, who often speaks along the same thematic lines as Mr. Trump on trade policy and whose supporters Mr. Trump has openly courted in recent weeks.

This has led to inevitable talk of Ms. Warren as the No. 2 on Mrs. Clinton’s ticket. “She’s played a great role,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California. “I think she should be one of the names considered.”

While that idea is appealing to many Clinton advisers and she is often mentioned as a possibility, the two have not shared the sort of warm relationship that could be required for such a partnership. Ms. Warren has suggested in the past that Mrs. Clinton was not as tough as she could have been on bank regulations.

“Of course I’ve spoken with Senator Warren in the last few weeks,” Mrs. Clinton told Bloomberg News. “We’ve stayed in touch over the campaign and I’m very much looking forward to having her good advice and counsel as we move to the general election campaign. I have the highest regard for her.”

Ms. Warren brings more to the table that a knack for a knifing riposte. She is also an impressive fund-raiser, having collected almost $50 million for her campaign committee since 2011, and she has a formidable mailing list of supporters.

Mrs. Clinton made no mention of those attributes, but she did make a point of saying she supported the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Ms. Warren helped to start before winning her Senate seat in 2012. “I’d hate to lose her here,” Mr. Durbin said.

In the Senate, Ms. Warren’s role has been more of an effective scold than a legislative heavyweight. For instance, last year she became the face of opposition for a trade bill championed by Mr. Obama, far more so than Mr. Sanders who, like Mr. Trump, is a strong critic of international trade agreements.

On Thursday, the political gloves were off and the napkin was on the lap as she joined a rare bipartisan Senate lunch. She tucked into some Georgia barbecue as she sat for some time next to Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, with whom she had worked on bills to reform government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “When I talk to her we talk about policy overlap,” said Mr. Corker, a supporter of Mr. Trump.

After the lunch, two reporters followed Ms. Warren down a hallway to discuss her role in the party, her attacks on Mr. Trump, Mrs. Clinton, or even the barbecue she just ate.

An aide repeatedly asked them to leave, as Ms. Warren pretended to examine the paint on the hall ceiling.

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