Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Bernie Sanders Apologizes to Women Who Were Harassed on His 2016 Campaign

Tasos Katopodis  Getty Images North America Tasos Katopodis Getty Images North America
Kenny Thornton | 13 January, 2019, 01:01

US Senator Bernie Sanders is apologising to women who've shared experiences of harassment by male supervisors while working on his 2016 presidential campaign. What they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign or any campaign should be about, ' he said Thursday on Capitol Hill.

He says rhetoric about "ending sexism and ending all forms of discrimination. can not just be words".

According to POLITICO, Mr. Becker "oversaw Sanders' Iowa campaign, then helped lead his efforts in Michigan, California and NY as deputy national field director" and has reportedly started calling former staffers to prep for Sanders' potential 2020 run over the past few months.

The anonymous staffer, who is in her 20s, and other witnesses told Politico Becker said he wanted to have sex with her while at the Philadelphia bar. He has said he had been unaware of the alleged harassment and mistreatment of his aides during the campaign.

The woman did not formally report the incident at the time, but was prompted to speak out after Becker, who is reportedly not on Sanders' payroll, "has been calling potential staffers and traveling to early primary states to prepare for another presidential run - activities that Sanders' top aides did not endorse, but did not disavow, either".

Sanders had apologized before, albeit not in such a comprehensive fashion.

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Sanders, a potential 2020 contender, conceded in his Thursday statement that the "standards and safeguards" on the campaign were "inadequate".

Becker then grabbed the woman and held her wrists as he forcibly kissed her, putting his tongue in her mouth, the woman said. The campaign staffers had gathered at the restaurant to mark the end of Sanders's presidential bid.

The People for Bernie Sanders and Organizing for Bernie, political action committees unaffiliated with a possible Sanders campaign, announced on Thursday that the 400 events prove there is already "an army of community led organizers already ramped up to put him miles ahead of other candidates in the 2020 race". "I apologize", Sanders said in a Thursday statement.

The woman said she informed Sanders's 2016 campaign manager Jeff Weaver of the alleged assault.

It has been reported that Weaver's decisions around complaints of sexual misconduct was troublesome and that there was no clear path for complaints to be made, according to the New York Times.

Allegations of sexual misconduct and an "untenable and risky dynamic that developed during [the Sanders] campaign" have dogged the Vermont senator in recent weeks, according to Politico. He outlined what steps his 2018 Senate re-election campaign had taken to prevent sexual harassment, including training on the issue for all employees.

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