Presidential candidate and self-described Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders snapped at a local reporter in Washington state when she started asking him hard questions.
Brandi Kruze of the local station KCPQ was grilling Sanders about online abuse by his supporters. She mentioned that their abusive behavior has received increased attention and even sparked demands by other candidates for Sanders to put a stop to it. In fact, the subject was the focus of a Mike Bloomberg ad that aired this week.
Kruze said, “Your campaign has taken some flack in recent weeks for the behavior of your supporters. There was a Michael Bloomberg ad that came out today, I don’t know if you saw itm but it’s basically things your supporters have said, they’ve called Elizabeth Warren a snake, they called Pete Buttigieg a rat.”
Kruze read a statement in which Bernie, appearing like a hypocrite, called for respectful discourse from other candidates and said his own campaign is “building a multi-generational multiracial movement of love, compassion, and justice.”
Objective reporting for the educated American.
The journalist said to Sanders, “So if that’s the movement that you’re building, if that’s the campaign you’re building, love, compassion, justice, why is it that your campaign is attracting people who are doing something so antithetical to that?”
Sanders cut her off and said, “First of all, first of all, do you know how many supporters we have?”
Kruze responded, “A lot.”
Sanders said, “Two and a half million, I think, who are involved in this thing. And no campaign can control two and a half million people.”
He continued, “Let me also tell you something, the people on our campaign, often our African American women leaders, are receiving incredibly abusive and ugly responses, that is the nature of the internet today, and that’s unfortunate. So I disavow any of these ugly personal attacks. But again when you have two and a half million people out there, supporters all over the country, some people are going to say stupid things. And by the way also, as you well know, the internet today is kind of the wild West, and somebody can say something in your name, you know? …which may not have anything to do with you.”
Kruze wouldn’t let him change the subject, and said, “So you don’t think that there’s an issue with vitriol that’s specific to your base, or special to your base?”
Sanders, appearing annoyed, responded, “Look I just said to you, I just said to you that I don’t know that they’re even coming from my campaign. All right?”
Kruze said, “Well not your campaign, nobody is accusing you of it coming from your campaign, but supporters.”
Sanders quipped, “When you have two and a half million supporters, people will say things, and maybe these are people who are not supporters of me. Do you know for a fact that they are?”
Kruze asked, “So they are people posing as Bernie Sanders supporters?”
“That could well be the case. that could well be the case,” Sanders said. “But anybody who knows me and what our campaign is about, don’t tell me that you’re supporting Bernie Sanders if you’re making ugly personal attacks on other people. We don’t want your support.”
The full video of the exchange can be viewed on Mediaite.