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Warren vows, ‘We will stand up to bigotry’

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called on her fellow Democrats not to tolerate attacks on other Americans.
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts called on her fellow Democrats not to tolerate attacks on other Americans. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press/File

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Thursday pledged to work with President-elect Donald Trump to build an economy that works for everyone while vowing to fight him if the vitriol of his candidacy takes root in his presidency.

“There are many millions of people who voted for Donald Trump not because of the bigotry and hate that fueled his campaign rallies,” Warren said in her first major address since the New York businessman was elected president of the United States. “They voted for him out of frustration and anger and out of hope that he would make real change in this country.”

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She spoke before the AFL-CIO Executive Council in an address that was broadcast via Facebook live and watched by more than 16,000 people.

“I believe the outcome of this election is an indictment on politics as usual,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said while introducing Warren. “The type of indictment that Senator Warren has spent her career fighting against.”

Warren, a progressive Democrat, and Trump, a Republican, have both argued that Wall Street has harmed the working class. And while they agree on the problem, their worldviews could not be further apart.

Thursday’s speech was an attempt to chart a path forward for dispirited liberals after Trump’s stunning victory on Tuesday. Warren also tried to explain and validate aspects of Trump’s appeal to workers who have been hammered by Wall Street.

She vowed to put aside their differences if Trump makes good on his promises to increase government spending on infrastructure to create jobs, oppose trade deals, and increase Social Security benefits.

“When President-elect Trump wants to take on these issues, when his goal is to increase the economic security of middle-class families, then count me in,” Warren said. “I will work as hard as I can and pull as many people as I can into this effort.”

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But Warren was clear: There would be no compromise if President-elect Trump insults women, minorities, or immigrants the way candidate Trump did.

“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,” she said pounding the podium for emphasis. “We will stand up to bigotry.”

The election wasn’t pretty, she said, calling the campaign a “toxic stew of hatred and fear.”

“Millions of people are worried, and they are right to be worried,” she said.

Trump’s candidacy started with a speech in which he disparaged Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” He proposed a temporary ban on allowing Muslims into the country. He mocked a disabled journalists and was accused of sexually assaulting women.

Warren became one of Trump’s biggest foes, engaging with him in a fierce war of words that often played out in 140-character exchanges on Twitter. He called her “Pocahontas” in reference to the controversy about her Native American heritage that emerged during the race for her Senate seat. She called Trump a “bully.”

But their common ground appears to be making the country a better for those angry that government seems to work only for the rich and powerful.

And while Trump might have won the White House, Warren noted that he lost the popular vote.

“The time for ignoring the American people is over,” Warren said. “It is time for us to come together to work on America’s agenda.”

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“Are we ready to be in this fight?” she asked to rousing applause. “You bet!”


Michael Levenson of Globe staff contributed to this report. Akilah Johnson can be reached at akilah.johnson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922.