Tuesday night’s Democratic debate was marked by an ever-widening schism between long-time ‘friends’ turned rivals, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, which culminated in a spurned handshake which has become the talk of Twitter.
The talking match was punctuated by several increasingly tense and bitter exchanges between the pair as the night wore on. Roughly 45 minutes into the discussion, CNN moderator Abby Phillip asked Sanders to respond to reports he told Warren that a woman couldn’t win the 2020 election.
Handshake: REJECTED pic.twitter.com/LUA49Z0JCc
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 15, 2020
Sanders denied the report, which was endorsed by Warren, thus implying she was lying. Later, Warren tried to strike a conciliatory tone saying, “Bernie is my friend, and I’m not here to fight with Bernie.”
However, the pair sparred over whether the year 1990 falls within the last 30 years, the period during which Warren claimed she was the only Democrat on stage who had beaten a Republican incumbent. Sanders pointed out that he himself beat a Republican in 1990.
At the conclusion of the debate, Sanders offered a conciliatory handshake but Warren appears to snatch her hands away, clenching them into fists as the pair exchanged a few choice words.
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Candidate Tom Steyer found himself awkwardly in the firing line as the two exchanged a few more terse words after the snubbed handshake.
“Goodnight, I’m out of here,” the billionaire activist told reporters afterwards. “I felt like, OK, I need to move on as fast as possible.”
Needless to say, the incident sparked an outbreak of hostilities online as partisans from each side defended their favored candidate and slammed their opponent.
— Veronica Corrales (@BernieEffect) January 15, 2020
His online supporters are totally off the rails. Even this idiotic thing about her “refusing his handshake and clenching her fists”—she had her hands folded before they even connected, and even if it was awkward between them, it was hardly hostile.
— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) January 15, 2020
Omg the media already framing the handshake as both of the snubbing each other instead of Warren being a sore sport
— Barack Obama is a Joe Manchin Democrat (@FlyThaiMMA) January 15, 2020
Meanwhile, others pointed out the ridiculous overanalysis of a simple handshake (or lack thereof), arguing that there were far more important things to think about.
you people are obsessing over a handshake while americans are rationing insulin and the planet is burning
— Madeline Conway (@MadelineRConway) January 15, 2020
oh by the way the House Impeachment Managers today received a piece of evidence that is the equivalent of a handwritten note saying “Colson & Hunt: break into DNC office in Watergate hotel and plant bugs”
but yeah that handshake tho
— Chris Espinosa (@cdespinosa) January 15, 2020
While the pair had largely stayed away from mud-slinging up to this point on the campaign trail, a recent report indicated Sanders’ staffers had been instructed to “go negative on Warren.”
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