Friday, 22 March, 2019

Bernie Sanders apologizes to women harassed during his campaign

Tasos Katopodis  Getty Images North America Tasos Katopodis Getty Images North America
Ellis Copeland | 13 January, 2019, 07:30

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

A top aide for Bernie Sanders is being accused of sexual misconduct during his time in the Vermont senator's 2016 presidential campaign.

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.

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". "To the women in that campaign who were harassed or mistreated I apologize".

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

She said she felt compelled to speak out after Mr Becker travelled to SC in December on a trip to recruit future campaign workers for Mr Sanders.

Chuck Todd asked viewers if Senator Bernie Sanders had damaged a possible second presidential campaign over his response to accusations of sexual harassment on his previous 2016 bid.

Becker denied the allegations saying they were "at odds with my recollection of a late evening filled with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what's next".

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She chose to speak out after Becker reportedly contacted her and other potential staffers regarding a 2020 presidential run by Sanders and visited early primary states.

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

"It just really sucks because no one ever held him accountable and he kept pushing and pushing and seeing how much he could get away with".

"This can't happen in 2020", the woman said in Politico. "To be clear: no one who committed sexual harassment in 2016 would be back if there were a 2020 campaign", and described Becker's conduct as "deplorable and fundamentally unacceptable".

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.

Sanders staffers have been actively discussing the need for significant differences in the gender makeup in the leadership of any future presidential campaign.

"Boy is that a tough answer to defend, of course", responded Todd, "because if you're running to be the president of the United States, If you can't manage a campaign how do you manage a country?"

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