Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is famously coy about her own presidential ambitions. But on just about everything else, she has no problem speaking her mind.
When Warren sat down with Stephen Colbert Monday night, she began by looking back wistfully at the last time she appeared on The Late Show in the spring of 2016. “I remember those days,” she said. “There were dog years, and now there are Trump years,” she joked. “And boy it’s going to be hard.”
Colbert confronted Warren with a rare moment of agreement between her and the president, using Trump’s most recent “Pocahontas” tweet as an example. “That must have felt good,” the host said as Warren shook her head.
“Donald Trump thinks that if he’s going to start every one of these tweets to me with some kind of racist slur here, that he’s going to shut me up,” Warren replied. “It didn’t work in the past, it’s not going to work in the future.”
As for her assertion to CNN’s Jake Tapper that the Democratic primary was “rigged,” Warren added that she agrees with Donna Brazile that there were some “problems” at the DNC during the 2016 election. “We should never have a thumb on the scales at the DNC,” she said, adding that she is confident that current chair Tom Perez is “going to put in new rules to make sure the Democratic Party is the party of the people so we can fight forward.”
Despite the fact that she is up for reelection in 2018, Colbert couldn’t help but ask Warren about her plans for 2020. “Look, we’ve got to be really careful here,” she told him “I get the point about Trump years and what this feels like right now, but we’ve got fights in front of us right now. We can’t play this game of every four years we’re going to get focused and we’re going to get active in politics.” It’s far more important, Warren said, to focus on defeating the GOP tax bill this year.
But while tax policy is clearly in Warren’s wheelhouse, Colbert attempted to take her out of her comfort zone in the second segment when he brought up the sexual misconduct allegations against her fellow Democratic senator, Al Franken.
“Al Franken, a comedian I’ve long admired and a politician I’ve recently admired, has been caught up in two accusations, one of which he’s acknowledged and apologized for,” Colbert said. “People are calling for Al Franken to step down. Do you think he should?”
“So, look, I was just enormously disappointed about this,” Warren replied. “I knew Sen. Franken long before he was Sen. Franken, and his wife Franni. These allegations are serious, and women have a right to be heard and listened to on this. Al is going to be subjected to a hearing in the United States Senate, an investigation. We have had, for a long time now in the Senate, long before I got there, a bipartisan ethics committee that meets on a regular basis, and he’s going to go in and answer.”
Without answering Colbert’s question directly, she moved on to speak about the larger problem in our culture. “Here’s where I see this whole thing going right now, we’re going to watch this play out with famous men,” Warren said. “It’s happened in lots of places, lots of them are talked about, and this is a moment in America, as I see it, and the question is whether this is a moment that’s a big flash and then nothing really changes, nobody feels like they have to answer, or is this a moment when there’s real change?
“And I’ll tell you how I know I think we’re going to know it’s a moment when there’s real change,” she continued. “It’s going to be when there is accountability for famous people, but it’s more going to be when the shift manager decides that maybe giving the good shifts only to women who will play sex games back in the dressing room is not a good idea, and when the jerk over in accounting decides that pressing up against women who are caught at the photo copying machine might not be smart, and when the boss decides that telling those dirty jokes and talking about who’s got great boobs and a killer ass better rethink his management strategy.
“When that sort of thing happens for women all across this country,” Warren said, “then we’ll know there’s been real change.”