Andrew Yang says if he's elected president he'll tell Putin: 'I'm sorry I beat your guy'

Andrew Yang

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Democratic presidential candidates Yang and Steyer arrive for the start of the fifth 2020 campaign debate at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • 2020 Democratic candidate Andrew Yang on Wednesday said that if he's elected the first thing he'll say to Russian President Vladimir Putin is "sorry I beat your guy."
  • Yang's jocular remark came during the fifth 2020 Democratic debate in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • The tech entrepreneur then followed up by stating he would make clear to Putin "the days of meddling in American elections are over."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

During the fifth 2020 Democratic debate on Wednesday, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang was asked what he would say to Russian President Vladimir Putin in their first conversation if he's ultimately elected.

In an apparent jab at President Donald Trump and Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, Yang said: "Well, first of all I'd say, 'I'm sorry I beat your guy.'"Advertisement

The remark prompted laughter in the debate hall. 

Yang then followed up by stating he would make clear to Putin "the days of meddling in American elections are over."


The US intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to bolster Trump's chances of winning, and did so under Putin's orders. 

"Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election," according to a January 2017 intelligence assessment from the CIA, National Security Agency, FBI, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence.Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about Russian election interference, and his skepticism is now linked, in part, to the central concerns of an ongoing impeachment inquiry in the House.Advertisement

The president in a July 25 phone call urged Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky to launch investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that claims it was Ukraine, and not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election. 

There were two hearings on Capitol Hill as part of the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, which ended not long before the debate began. 

Yang, who's not a 2020 frontrunner but has seen an unexpected level of success in the race so far, has said that he supports impeaching Trump. "We're a country of laws. You have to enforce the laws," Yang said in a late September interview on ABC's "The View."Advertisement