Bernie Sanders apol­o­gizes again

New re­port re­veals cam­paign man­ager named in law­suit

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation - David Weigel and Feli­cia Son­mez, The Wash­ing­ton Post

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

On Thurs­day morn­ing, after Politico re­ported that Sanders’ 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 day­to­day 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 Don­ald 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’ 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.

On Wed­nes­day, peo­ple close to Sanders said it was de­cided months ago that Weaver would not re­turn to the cam­paign man­ager role.

BERNIE SANDERS

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