Bernie Sanders to meet with women who alleged mistreatment on 2016 presidential campaign: report
Bernie Sanders says he was completely unaware of any sexual harassment allegations during his 2016 presidential campaign
Sen. Bernie Sanders will reportedly meet with women who alleged male staffers engaged in "rotten" sexual misconduct during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Sanders, I-Vt., apologized last week following multiple reports of women who were harassed or discriminated against while working on his campaign, saying the campaign’s “standards and safeguards were inadequate.”
More than two dozen former staffers recently sent a letter to Sanders and his aides, seeking a meeting regarding the “sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign” ahead of potentially another bid for the presidency. Sanders has agreed to meet with the women on Wednesday, BuzzFeed News reported.
Two facilitators from Working IDEAL, a consulting group focused on workplace diversity, will run the meeting, according to BuzzFeed.
Robert Becker, the former Iowa state director for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, allegedly made several inappropriate comments to a younger, female subordinates before he forcibly kissed her while at a bar with other staffers following the Democratic National Convention, Politico reported last week.
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. Later, he grabbed her wrists and head, forcibly kissed her and put his tongue in her mouth, she and other witnesses alleged.
Becker, who is now 50, dismissed the accusations, saying they are “at odds with my recollection of a late evening filled with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what’s next.”
Additionally, numerous women have complained they were paid less than men and forced into inappropriate and uncomfortable situations, according to The New York Times. A former Sanders delegate called the culture an “entire wave of rotten sexual harassment that seemingly was never dealt with.”
Sanders initially said he was unaware of the alleged behavior happening during his campaign because he was “a little busy” running for president. He later tweeted a lengthier apology, thanking the women who came forward with complaints of sexual misconduct and ensuring that his 2018 Senate re-election campaign had “established some of the strongest sexual harassment policies in the country.”
He said what the women experienced was “absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign, or any campaign, should be about.”
Sanders has said he will “probably” run for president again in 2020 if he believes he’s the “best candidate to beat Donald Trump.” The senator has reportedly been adding to his staff amid 2020 rumors, including with securing a media production company that helped Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s assent to Congress.