9 Times Elizabeth Warren Boldly Spoke Her Mind
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has made a name for herself as a firebrand, lauded as one of the most outspoken voices against President Trump and many of his administration's primary goals. While most politicians take a diplomatic approach to voicing their opinions, Warren is actually akin to Trump in her refusal to sugarcoat her opinions (though that is where the similarities between the two stop). This comfort level with controversy has perfectly positioned Warren to be an ideal counter to the new president, as she has a well-established record of speaking out boldly on issues that matter.
Warren had an established career as a lawyer and law professor before rising to national prominence during her 2012 run for the Senate. Arguably, her fame-making moment came during that year's Democratic National Convention, at which she gave a passionate speech that put her firmly on the radar as a rising star within the Democratic party. Since then, Warren has kept at it, voicing her views on everything from big business corruption and Washington cronyism without concern for the measured niceties that usually mark political speech. Here are just a handful of examples when Warren went for gutsy candor over a strategically moderate approach.
1. Warren Embraces A Controversial Term To Describe Herself
Leading up to her Senate election, Warren pushed back on opponents who were trying to cast her as an "elitist," given her tenure as a professor at Harvard Law school. Calling herself an "elite hick," Warren reminded voters she grew up in Oklahoma, and planned on taking on big corporations who made life hard on regular people. Speaking of her message, Warren said, "... it kind of transcends being a hick and it kind of transcends being a fancy pants professor.”
2. The "System Is Rigged" Originator
Years before Sen. Bernie Sanders and President Trump made the "system is rigged" pitch to voters popular, Warren was saying the same thing. At her 2012 DNC speech, Warren introduced Americans to the idea that the big corporations were getting rich while the "little guy" paid the price. "People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: they're right. The system is rigged."
3. Willing To Critique Obamacare
In assessing how Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election, Warren boldly told liberal donors that part of the problem was the limited benefits of the Affordable Care Act. According to her, the benefits did not go far enough to help working class men and women. "But let’s be honest: It’s not bold. It’s not transformative,” she said, which was part of her argument for why many traditionally Democratic voters didn't choose Secretary Clinton.
4. Calling Out Aetna
After President Obama's justice department refused a merger between insurance giant Aetna and Humana, the former company removed itself from Obamacare offerings in all but four states. Warren, along with Sanders, accused the company of engaging in political playback rather than ensuring that Americans had access to quality health coverage. "Violating antitrust law is a legal question, not a political one. The health of the American people should not be used as bargaining chips to force the government to bend to one giant company’s will.”
5. Wary Of Trump's Business Success
On June 11, Warren announced her endorsement of Clinton for the presidency. But she had some withering slams on Trump to get through first, among them a broadside casting doubt on his famed business acumen. "Trump tells everyone who will listen that he is a great businessman, but let’s be honest, he is just a guy who inherited a fortune and kept it rolling along by cheating people.”
6. The Grilling Of Betsy DeVos
Warren made clear in several ways her abundant disapproval for Trump's nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos. During her Senate confirmation hearing, Warren grilled the charter school advocate on higher education funding, ended that section of her questioning by stating, "So you have no personal experience with college financial aid or management of higher education." Warren's tone and delivery highlighted the "no experience" part of that conclusion.
7. Showing Up At Boston Logan Airport To Protest Trump's Refugee Ban
"An attack on anyone because for their religious beliefs is an attack on the very foundation of democracy." So proclaimed Warren at Boston's Logan Airport on January 29, following Trump's ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. She led the crowd in a call and repeat session, emphasizing that this ban was unconstitutional and destined to be overturned.
8. Zero Patience For Ted Cruz
After Cruz sent out a campaign fundraiser request that cited how difficult running for the presidency had been on him and his family, Warren took to Twitter. "Are you kidding me, @TedCruz? We’re supposed to pity you because trying to be the leader of the free world is hard?! 2 words: Boo hoo." She called him out a dozen times in her tweet storm, contrasting his "whining" to the real hardships faced by minimum wage workers with no paid sick leave.
9. Taking On Trump, One Tweet At A Time
If Trump discovered how to use Twitter to bring down his opponents, Warren quickly learned the art and then bested the teacher. Her Trump takedowns throughout the campaign became something approaching legendary, as she publicly called him out on everything from his petty insults to fact-free claims of mass voter fraud.
And given her record of fearlessness in standing up for what she believes in and speaking out against her opponents, Americans can expect more candid takes from Warren in the coming years of Trump's presidency.