Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Wednesday that if American voters think a woman can’t beat President Donald Trump in next year’s presidential election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “does it every single day.”
The senator, speaking at the fifth Democratic debate, hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post in Atlanta, cast herself as the product of working-class roots who can get bipartisan support and help Democrats win back the Midwestern cities and towns that drifted toward Trump in 2016. The senator touted legislation she passed through Congress and her political wins in Republican and independent congressional districts before attempting to answer one of the central questions of Democratic voters following Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016.
“I govern with both with my head and my heart and if you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day,” Klobuchar said, citing the tensions between Pelosi and Trump, which have escalated since the House speaker announced an impeachment investigation into Trump and his contacts with Ukraine.
During the debate, Klobuchar argued that women are held to a different standard.
“Otherwise we could play a game called name your favorite woman president, which we can’t do because it has all been men,” the senator said.
The three-term senator previously told CNN’s Jake Tapper that she doesn’t believe the women running for the Democratic nomination would have made the debate stage if they had the same level of experience as 37-year-old South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg leads a city of a little over 100,000 people and was elected by just a few thousand votes. He was overwhelmingly defeated when he ran for a statewide office in Indiana in 2010.
“Maybe we’re held to a different standard,” the senator said earlier this month on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
At Wednesday’s debate, Klobuchar said that Buttigieg, who has been mayor of South Bend since 2012 and was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2014 as an intelligence officer, is qualified to be on the debate stage.
“I am honored to be standing next to him,” Klobuchar said. “But what I said was true: Women are held to a higher standard.”
Klobuchar said that women, including the six running for president, have to work harder, “and that’s a fact.”
Buttigieg defended his experience at the debate and said: “I get that it is not traditional establishment Washington experience, but I would argue we need something very different right now.”
He said he has a “different kind of experience,” which involves “solving problems working side by side with neighbors on some of the toughest issues.”
CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report.