WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Thursday that she will work with President-elect Donald Trump if he sincerely wants to rebuild the economy for the working class, but she laid down markers on several issues where there could be fights "every step of the way."
Warren, a leading liberal whose voice is likely to be amplified without a Democrat in the White House, put Republicans on notice that the "loyal opposition" would vigorously oppose efforts to deport undocumented immigrants en masse, reduce the health insurance rolls, give tax breaks to the wealthy and weaken Wall Street reforms.
"If Trump and the Republican Party try to turn loose the big banks and financial institutions so they can once again gamble with our economy and bring it all crashing down, then we will fight them every step of the way," she declared in a speech to the executive council of the AFL-CIO in Washington.
Her remarks came as Democrats in Washington engage in soul-searching about how Trump was able to so vastly outperform Hillary Clinton among white working-class voters.
Warren chastised Trump for running a campaign that she said encouraged "a toxic stew of hatred and fear." But she acknowledged that he tapped into a genuine anger among voters anxious about their economic futures.
"There are many millions of people who did not vote for Donald Trump because of the bigotry and hate that fueled his campaign rallies," Warren said. "They voted for him despite the hate. They voted for him out of frustration and anger and also out of hope that he would bring change."
Warren said voters were "deeply frustrated about an economy and a government that doesn't work for them." She added: "The truth is that people are right to be angry."
Warren noted that during his campaign, Trump criticized Wall Street's influence on politics, talked about the need for better trade deals, pledged not to cut Social Security benefits, promised to address the rising costs of college and said he is committed to overhauling the country's crumbling infrastructure.
"He spoke to the very real sense of millions of Americans that their government and their economy has abandoned them," Warren said. "And he promised to rebuild our economy for working people."
If Trump takes on these issues, Warren said, "count me in."
"I will push aside our differences, and I will work with him to accomplish that goal," she said. "I offer to work as hard as I can and to pull as many people as I can into this effort. If Trump is ready to go on rebuilding economic security for millions of Americans, so am I and so are a lot of other people — Democrats and Republicans."
At the top of her speech, Warren said she wouldn't "sugarcoat" other aspects of Trump's candidacy, which she said "started with racial attacks and then rode the escalator down."
With his election, she said, Latinos and Muslims are rightly worried about what will happen to their families. Gay couples, she said, are legitimately concerned if their marriages will be dissolved once Trump appoints new justices to the Supreme Court. And women are rightfully concerned that access to health services could disappear.
Though she said Trump had set an encouraging tone since his election, the "first job" of Democrats now is to stand up to bigotry.
"There is no compromise here," Warren said. "In all its forms, we will fight back against attacks on Latinos, African-Americans, women, Muslims, immigrants, disabled Americans — on anyone. Whether Donald Trump sits in a glass tower or sits in the White House, we will not give an inch on this, not now, not ever."