Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) put their differences aside for a morning of campaigning in South Carolina on Monday — as the two work to close in on former Vice President Joe Biden’s 17-point lead in the state.
The two leading progressives in the 2020 Democratic race found themselves together for the state’s largest celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, known as Columbia’s King Day at the Dome.
Warren and Sanders were first spotted together when they were both seated in the front row of Zion Baptist Church, along with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), for the morning church service.
Warren (D-Mass.) reached out her hand to Sanders (I-Vermont) as he walked to his seat, and the Democratic socialist quickly shook it before greeting Gabbard, a longtime ally, with a hug.
“This is THE handshake,” Gabbard was heard saying after the exchange, likely a reference to Warren’s refusal to shake Sanders’ hand after last week’s debate.
In a greater show of unity, the two senators linked arms as they participated in a march through the streets of downtown Columbia to the Statehouse after the service, where a rally was held in King’s honor.
Onlookers noted that the two appeared fairly friendly to one another during the march — when they weren’t busy singing along to “We Shall Overcome” for part of the six-block trip.
Warren, however, looked much more chummy on the march in conversation with Klobuchar, who was linked to her other arm.
Candidates such as Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and former Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass.) were also in attendance.
It’s a far cry from the feud that emerged last week between the two progressives, when they sparred over whether Sanders said to Warren that he did not believe a woman could win the presidency in 2020. Sanders denies the claim.
Both were asked during last Tuesday’s debate about the alleged comment, which Sanders adamantly categorized as false.
As candidates shook hands at the end of the program, the cameras caught Warren rejecting a handshake from Sanders — and then a tense conversation between the two.
Sanders could later be heard accusing Warren of calling him a liar before both agreed to continue the discussion another time.
Before the debate, Sanders’ campaign appeared to violate a non-aggression pact between the two when volunteers were instructed to describe Warren to voters as someone who brings “no new bases into the Democratic Party.”
Volunteers were also told to describe Warren as someone who is mostly supported by “highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what.”
Warren responded to news of the script by saying she was “disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me.”
The pair of progressives have bigger fish to fry in the first-in-the-South primary, however, where Biden has held steady in the polls for months.
The former veep comfortably leads the state’s primary with 32 percent of support, according to a Real Clear Politics average. Sanders and Warren, meanwhile, trail behind with 15 and 14 percent, respectively.