Sanders tainted by adviser

Marsha Scott
January 13, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday apologized to women who allege they were sexually harassed while working on his 2016 presidential campaign.

The Vermont independent said on Capitol Hill that the alleged misconduct by male aides "was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign or any campaign should be about". "We can't just talk about ending sexism and discrimination".

The adviser, Robert Becker, who oversaw Sanders's campaign in Iowa, Michigan, California and NY, and served as the deputy national field director, had allegedly grabbed a woman in her let 20s by her wrists and forcibly kissed her at a restaurant in Philadelphia.

"I categorically deny these allegations of improper and unprofessional conduct", said Becker in a statement.

The Sanders situation hit headlines after November's midterm elections, in which the #MeToo women's movement - propelled by female voters' frustration with President Donald Trump, who himself stands accused of assault or harassment by multiple women - helped sweep Democrats to victory.

"Our standards, our procedures, our safeguards, were clearly inadequate, " Sanders said. It must be a reality in our daily lives.

"Candidates who allow people like Robert Becker to lead their organizations shouldn't earn the highest office in our government", said the woman.

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Later in the night, the 50-year-old Becker grabbed the woman by the wrists and held her head while kissing her, the report said. "You can't run for president of the United States unless you acknowledge that every campaign demands a safe work environment for every employee and volunteer", the woman continued.

Allegations of sexual misconduct and an "untenable and unsafe dynamic that developed during [the Sanders] campaign" have dogged the Vermont senator in recent weeks, according to Politico.

The woman, who requested anonymity to avoid possible retribution, did not report the incident at the time because Sanders' campaign had ended. "I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case", Sanders said last week during a CNN interview.

Todd noted that other accusations had drawn a sense of a "pervasive culture of toxic masculinity" on the 2016 campaign.

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.

Kat Brezler, the other co-founder of the People for Bernie Sanders, said in a statement that part of coming together in support of a Sanders 2020 campaign would be to discuss best practices moving forward and to learn from past mistakes on campaigns. He did tout the work done on his 2018 Senate reelection campaign, which "established some of the strongest sexual harassment policies in the country".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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