Elizabeth Warren's ferocious criticisms of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have touched a nerve with the real estate magnate, who's taken to calling the Massachusetts senator "Goofy Elizabeth Warren." And Warren thinks she knows why she's gotten a rise out of him.
"I don't think that's where Donald Trump wants to be, the idea that he has to be held accountable, I don't think he likes that. I think he's actually a lot weaker than he wants to admit," Warren said in an interview Tuesday.
Warren — who's been talked up as a potential running mate for likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and won't rule out the possibility of serving as vice president — has hit Trump on a number of fronts in recent weeks, charging that the populist billionaire "has built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia" and accusing him of exaggerating his business successes.
Trump, in turn, has attacked Warren as a Clinton "flunky" and dredged up her disputed claims of Native American ancestry.
"We want some accountability." Warren is nonplussed by the fusillade of attacks.
"I don't know if it's that Donald Trump is not used to people who stand up and challenge him, and I don't mean on silly stuff, or on personal stuff," she said. "This is really about the issues he's put on the table and talking about him — you know, Donald Trump got out there, his sole claim to fame on why it is he would be a great president is he's such a great business man, right?"
Voters shouldn't buy that narrative, Warren said.
"He's a guy who inherited millions of dollars from his father, and then he managed to expand that by defrauding students through things like Trump University and cheating others by declaring chapter 11 and not paying his creditors," she said. "You know, there are some people who analyzed the portfolio that he's got and say, 'Shoot, if he'd just taken the money he inherited and invested it in the stock market, he'd have more money today than he has through all of his investments.'"
"So, I think this is just kind of coming back at Donald Trump and saying, 'This is what you said, we want some accountability on that,'" Warren added.
The senator contended that the brash billionaire fears a substantive discussion of the issues — hence the visceral attacks on her credibility.
"A strong person will get back up with their own numbers and have a back and forth. You talk about your data, I'll talk about my data and we'll put it out there, we'll talk about the issues, we'll make coherent arguments — but not Donald Trump," Warren said. "He's immediately got to pivot and say, 'Oh, name-calling. I've got to find a name to call someone.' Because he sure as heck doesn't want to talk about the issues."