06/09/2016 10:51 EDT | Updated 06/10/2017 01:12 EDT

Sen. Warren lashes out at Republicans, Trump over judges

WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren attacked Donald Trump as a "loud, nasty, thin-skinned fraud" Thursday in a scathing broadside also aimed at the top two Republican leaders in Congress.

Trump "has never risked anything for anyone and serves nobody but himself. And that is just one of the many reasons why he will never be president," Warren said in excerpts of a speech prepared for delivery to the American Constitution Society Thursday evening.

The liberal lawmaker increasingly has tangled with Trump, taking on an attack dog role that she seems able to execute more effectively than other Democrats, including presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump has lashed back, labeling her "Goofy Elizabeth Warren" and ridiculing her one-time claim to Native American heritage.

Warren took aim at Trump's claims that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel can't preside fairly over a case involving Trump University because the U.S.-born Curiel is of Mexican descent and Trump wants to build a wall along the border with Mexico.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., both have strongly condemned those comments, but Warren, D-Mass., argued that McConnell and Ryan are really no better than Trump on the issue of judges. She cited what she contends is McConnell's blockade of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees and Ryan's acquiescence in the strategy.

"Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want Donald Trump to appoint the next generation of judges. They want those judges to tilt the law to favour big business and billionaires like Trump. They just want Donald to quit being so vulgar and obvious about it," Warren says.

"Donald Trump chose racism as his weapon, but his aim is exactly the same as the rest of the Republicans. Pound the courts into submission to the rich and powerful."

McConnell's office pushed back against Warren's criticism. Spokesman Don Stewart said: "If Sen. Warren held her current beliefs about ensuring votes for all nominees when her party was engaged in serial and unprecedented filibusters against women and minorities during the Bush administration, she kept them to herself."

Warren is the only female Democratic senator who has not yet officially backed Clinton, but intends to make a formal endorsement in coming days, two sources with knowledge of her plans told The Associated Press late Wednesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

Warren's ardent base of liberal supporters includes many who also backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 race and may follow her lead more than that of any other Democrat, except perhaps for Obama. Her name also has been floated as a potential vice-presidential running mate for Clinton by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and others.


Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.