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Elizabeth Warren appears before a sparse crowd at South Carolina environment forum

Elizabeth Warren may be surging in the polls, but you wouldn’t know it by the size of the crowd that heard her speak on Friday.

The senator from Massachusetts spoke at a sparsely attended environmental forum in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on Friday.

The auditorium where the event was held appeared as if it could hold hundreds of spectators, but there were no more than a few dozen who could be seen watching the event.

According to Bloomberg News, Warren appeared on stage after another Democratic candidate, billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, spoke at the forum.

Former House Rep. Joe Sestak and self-help author Marianne Williamson also spoke at the event. 

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (above) addressed a sparsely attended environmental justice conference in Orangeburg, South Carolina, on Friday

It appeared there were only a few dozen people in the audience during the event, which was skipped by most Democratic candidates for president

It appeared there were only a few dozen people in the audience during the event, which was skipped by most Democratic candidates for president

Most of the Democratic candidates in the race skipped the event.

When asked if it was wrong for the Democratic Party not to stage an official debate devoted solely to the issue of climate change, Warren said: ‘Yes.’

She was also asked if she agrees with one of her rivals, Senator Bernie Sanders, who said that there should be no billionaires.

‘No,’ she said.

If someone succeeds and makes it big, ‘good for them,’ Warren said.

Warren was also reminded by the moderator, Amy Goodman, that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want her to be president.

‘Boo hoo,’ Warren replied sarcastically.

Last month, leaked audio revealed that Zuckerberg viewed Warren as a threat to his company because of her call for the social network to be broken up.

Zuckerberg was quoted as saying that it would ‘suck’ if Warren was elected and that it would likely force Facebook to go to court to block her administration’s plans. 

Warren on Friday reiterated her call for a wealth tax that would pay for a number of ambitious social programs, including Medicare for All.

Warren has pitched an ‘ultra millionaire tax’ that would slap a 2 per cent annual tax on household net worth between $50million and $1billion.

The senator has also called for a 1 per cent annual billionaire surtax (3 per cent overall) on a household whose net worth is over $1billion.

Warren was followed by another presidential rival, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

Warren was followed by another presidential rival, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

California billionaire businessman Tom Steyer (above) spoke before Warren in Orangeburg on Friday

California billionaire businessman Tom Steyer (above) spoke before Warren in Orangeburg on Friday

Marianne Williamson

Joe Sestak

Two other longshot candidates also appeared at the forum: Marianne Williamson (left) and former House Rep. Joe Sestak (right)

Warren’s rise to become the main challenger for frontrunner Joe Biden has prompted worry among wealthy Democratic Party donors who say she is too liberal to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.

Her plan to tax the wealthiest Americans has also prompted backlash, including from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who said that he may vote for Trump if Warren is the Democratic nominee.

‘I’ve paid over $10 billion in taxes,’ the multi-billionaire said at a New York Times DealBook conference Wednesday.

‘I’ve paid more than anyone in taxes. If I had to pay $20 billion, it’s fine,’ the Microsoft founder and philanthropist continued.

Billionaire Bill Gates questioned Warren's tax plan on Wednesday and refused to say he would back her over President Donald Trump

Billionaire Bill Gates questioned Warren’s tax plan on Wednesday and refused to say he would back her over President Donald Trump

In her response on Twitter, Warren offered to explain her tax plan to Gates

In her response on Twitter, Warren offered to explain her tax plan to Gates

‘But when you say I should pay $100 billion, then I’m starting to do a little math over what I have left over,’ he quipped.

That amount is in the ballpark of Gates’ total estimated net worth. Then, he added, ‘Sorry – I’m just kidding,’ to chuckles from a live audience.

Gates also questioned whether Warren, who came to power after blasting big banks as a consumer advocate in the fight over bankruptcy reform, was ‘open-minded’ – a characterization the Democratic presidential candidate soon disputed.

He was asked if he would want to talk with her.

‘You know, I’m not sure how open-minded she is, or that she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody, you know, who has large amounts of money,’ said Gates, who comes in second in the Forbes wealthiest list.

The magazine puts his wealth at $97 billion.

He dodged a direct question about whether he would back Warren over Trump, saying he will support a candidate with a ‘more professional approach’ than Trump.

He said he hopes the ‘more professional candidate is an electable candidate.’

He said he was all for ‘super progressive tax systems,’ as long as they had transparency.

Warren responded on Twitter: ‘I’m always happy to meet with people, even if we have different views. @BillGates, if we get the chance, I’d love to explain exactly how much you’d pay under my wealth tax. (I promise it’s not $100 billion.).

Gates isn’t the only business titan who took Warren to task this week.

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, told CNBC on Tuesday that the senator from Massachusetts ‘uses some pretty harsh words’ and that ‘some would say vilifies successful people.’

‘I don’t like vilifying anybody,’ Dimon said. ‘We should applaud successful people.’

Warren responded to Dimon, saying the economy ‘is working great for the wealthy and well-connected’ like Dimon, and he ‘doesn’t want that to change.’ 

Warren was also criticized this week by another billionaire, Jamie Dimon (above), the CEO of JPMorgan Chase

Warren was also criticized this week by another billionaire, Jamie Dimon (above), the CEO of JPMorgan Chase 

One billionaire has decided to try and deny Warren the nomination. Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, filed paperwork to enter the race for the Democratic nomination. 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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