ShareThis Page
Bernie Sanders apologizes again to female staffers on his 2016 presidential campaign |

Bernie Sanders apologizes again to female staffers on his 2016 presidential campaign

The Washington Post
| Thursday, January 10, 2019 5:44 p.m
Sen. Bernie Sanders

WASHINGTON — For the second time this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has apologized to female staff members from his 2016 presidential campaign who have said they were sexually harassed by co-workers — including one who was expected to play a role in a potential 2020 bid.

On Thursday morning, after Politico reported that Sanders’s former Iowa campaign manager Robert Becker had been named in a $30,000 federal discrimination settlement with two former employees, Sanders told reporters that he thanked the women “from the bottom of my heart for speaking out” and formally apologized to them.

“When we talk about ending sexism, and ending all forms of discrimination, those beliefs cannot just be words,” Sanders said. “They must be based in day-to-day reality and the work that we do. And that was clearly not the case in the 2016 campaign. The allegations that I have heard speak to unacceptable behavior that must not be tolerated in any campaign or in any workplace.”

Sanders said that his 2018 Senate reelection campaign in Vermont had operated under “some of the strongest sexual harassment policies in the country” and that he had not been aware of the $30,000 settlement.

“Our standards, our procedures, our safeguards, were clearly inadequate,” Sanders said. “Clearly, in this country, we need a cultural revolution to change workplace attitudes and behavior.”

Sanders made the remarks in response to a question from a reporter on Capitol Hill at an event on prescription drug prices. The Vermont independent, who caucuses with Democrats, is among dozens of potential candidates mulling a 2020 bid against President Trump.

Last week, amid multiple reports detailing allegations of sexual harassment and pay disparities during the 2016 campaign, Sanders offered a public apology to “any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately.”

He also defended himself in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, maintaining that he was not aware of any allegations at the time.

“I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case,” Sanders said.

Becker, who helped organize Sanders’s Iowa caucuses campaign and then his upset victory in the Michigan primary, had traveled to South Carolina last month and held meetings with former staffers. But Sanders and his allies said that Becker was not doing so on the senator’s behalf.

“I get stories everyday of people trying to run around and talk to people to see if they want to work for Bernie,” Sanders’s 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNBC.

Becker did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

On Wednesday, people close to Sanders said that Weaver would not return to the campaign manager role if the senator made another White House run, but that the decision had been made months earlier, before reports on staff members who claimed to have been sexually harassed.

As the 2020 field begins to take shape, some House Democrats have been urging Sanders to pursue another presidential bid.”

He should run, and he should make sure he has a diverse campaign staff that has one of the strongest harassment policies of any campaign,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who has repeatedly encouraged Sanders to seek the White House. “He should run because every 50 years or so, someone has the opportunity to fundamentally reimagine the possibilities of our political conversation.”

Categories: News | Politics Election
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.