Bernie Sanders apologizes for alleged sexual harassment, ‘mistreatment’ by 2016 presidential adviser

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Sen. Bernie Sanders apologized Thursday following a number of studies of ladies who had been sexually harassed or assaulted by certainly one of his staffers throughout his 2016 presidential bid. Earlier Thursday, studies surfaced prime aide was accused of sexually assaulting a feminine subordinate. 

“To the ladies in that marketing campaign who had been harassed or mistreated I apologize. Our requirements and safeguards had been insufficient,” Sanders mentioned in an announcement posted to social media.

He thanked the ladies who did come ahead with complaints of sexual misconduct and ensured that his 2018 Senate re-election marketing campaign had “established a few of the strongest sexual harassment insurance policies within the nation.”

Robert Becker, the previous Iowa state director for Sanders’ 2016 presidential marketing campaign, allegedly made a number of inappropriate feedback to a youthful, feminine subordinates earlier than he forcibly kissed her whereas at a bar with different staffers following the Democratic Nationwide Conference, Politico reported earlier Thursday.

The nameless staffer, who’s in her 20s, and different witnesses instructed Politico Becker mentioned he wished to have intercourse together with her whereas on the Philadelphia bar. Later, he grabbed her wrists and head, forcibly kissed her and put his tongue in her mouth, she and different witnesses alleged.

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The lady didn’t report the incident on the time for the reason that marketing campaign was completed however has come ahead now as Becker has been concerned with potential 2020 groundwork.

Robert Becker, who was the Iowa state director for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential bid, has been accused of forcibly kissing a youthful feminine subordinate in the course of the marketing campaign.
(Getty Pictures)

“It simply actually sucks as a result of nobody ever held him accountable, and he saved pushing and pushing and seeing how a lot he may get away with,” the lady mentioned. “This may’t occur in 2020. You possibly can’t run for president of the USA except you acknowledge that each marketing campaign calls for a secure work setting for each worker and volunteer.”

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Becker, who’s now 50, dismissed the accusations, saying they’re “at odds with my recollection of a late night crammed with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what’s subsequent.”

No fees have been filed.

Hillary Clinton formally secured the Democratic presidential nomination over Sanders on the conference.

Different former aides accused Becker of utilizing social media to find out potential feminine hires’ attractiveness, in response to Politico. Becker, nevertheless, mentioned he was simply tasked with reviewing “probably questionable or damaging social media posts of potential hires.”

Becker traveled to South Carolina – the first-in-the-South main state – in December for conferences with former Sanders marketing campaign staffers, CNBC beforehand reported. However Jeff Weaver, who ran Sanders’ 2016 marketing campaign, pressured then that Becker was not doing so in an official capability as he “doesn’t work for the marketing campaign as a result of there isn’t any marketing campaign.”

Amid hypothesis that Sanders may search the White Home once more, the progressive senator has confronted fallout as broader sexual harassment complaints stemming from the 2016 bid have come to mild in current weeks.

Greater than two dozen former staffers not too long ago despatched a letter to Sanders and his aides, in search of a gathering relating to the “sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 marketing campaign” forward of one other bid for the presidency. Moreover, quite a few ladies have complained they had been paid lower than males and compelled into inappropriate and uncomfortable conditions, in response to The New York Instances. A former Sanders delegate referred to as the tradition an “whole wave of rotten sexual harassment that seemingly was by no means handled.”

Sanders mentioned he was unaware of the alleged conduct taking place throughout his marketing campaign as a result of he was “slightly busy” operating for president. However he additionally apologized to “any girl who felt that she was not handled appropriately,” including that if he does determine to run once more he would “do higher.”

Thursday, he mentioned the nation wants a “cultural revolution” with the intention to “change office attitudes and conduct.”

“I intend in each approach to be actively concerned in that course of,” Sanders mentioned.

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The harassment controversy isn’t fully new. Allegations of sexism briefly surfaced throughout Sanders’ 2016 bid as a few of his younger, white male supporters who went on-line to aggressively assault Clinton and her followers had been pejoratively labeled “Bernie Bros”; nevertheless, the tales didn’t severely affect his bid for the Democratic nomination.

Sanders commanded the left flank of the social gathering in 2016 as he crushed Clinton within the New Hampshire main – propelling him right into a marathon battle with the previous secretary of state up till the social gathering conference. However which may not essentially be the case once more in 2020 as progressive Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has launched an exploratory committee and has traveled to Iowa.

Different liberal lawmakers, resembling Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, are additionally thought of to be potential 2020 contenders.

Fox Information’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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