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Report: before retiring, Harry Reid told Elizabeth Warren to run for president

Hillary Clinton Is Joined By Maggie Hassan And Elizabeth Warren On Campaign Trail In NH Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Harry Reid, the former Democratic Senate Minority Leader, thinks Elizabeth Warren should run for president in 2020 — and he told Warren as much before he retired last year.

Buried deep in a story about the future of the Democratic Party’s opposition movement in the Donald Trump era, the New York Times Magazine’s Charles Homans set the scene:

Shortly before Thanksgiving, he summoned Warren to the minority leader's office. When she arrived, the room was littered with art supplies; on an easel was a half-finished portrait of Reid that would be unveiled at his retirement party the following month. Its subject was preoccupied with the future of the party to which he had dedicated decades of his life. Reid told Warren she needed to think seriously about running for president in 2020.

Warren was already floated as a possible Democratic presidential candidate in the runup to the 2016 presidential election. A progressive senator from Massachusetts — and trusted ally of Reid’s — Warren, the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, seemed to bridge a gap between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton factions of the Democratic Party. (Matt Yglesias made the case for Warren in 2015.) At the time, her critics ultimately deemed her too inexperienced on foreign policy to make a successful run for president in 2016.

Warren’s presence grew on the national platform regardless. She didn’t endorse either Sanders or Hillary Clinton during the primaries, but became a strong Clinton surrogate during the general election, making the Democratic nominee’s vice presidential shortlist. During the campaign season, Warren took up the mantle as the anti-Trump attack dog, and gave scathing speeches calling Trump a “small, insecure money grubber,” and has been among the leading Democratic voices calling for Trump to release his tax returns.

Still, she remains a fighting voice among Democrats facing unified Republican control of the federal government. And after joining the Senate Armed Services Committee, she’ll have more foreign policy experience and classified briefings on her résumé by the next Democratic primary.

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