Bernie Sanders promised he’d try to use his 2020 presidential campaign to help heal some of the bitter wounds that his 2016 campaign caused within the Democratic Party and the American political left. We’d been hoping he really meant it. But Bernie just made two key campaign hires that are each scandalous to the point that we feel compelled to say something about it.
Bernie just hired Briahna Joy Gray to be the national press secretary for the 2020 campaign. The trouble: she voted for Jill Stein in 2016. Four days before the election she announced on Twitter that she would be voting for Stein, and long after the election she confirmed in a separate tweet that she did in fact end up voting for Stein. That’s far from her only troubling moment. On September 26th of 2016, she tweeted this: “Donald Trump is right. The dems pushed the ‘Russia did the hacking’ angle b/c it was politically advantageous for them.”
That’s right, during the 2016 general election, Bernie Sanders’ new press secretary was actively trying to downplay Donald Trump’s Russia scandal, and then she went against Bernie’s wishes and voted for the Kremlin-friendly Stein instead of Hillary Clinton. Oh, and Gray once attacked the character of civil rights legend John Lewis as well. We have screen captures of all these tweets, in case she deletes them. But she’s arguably the less scandalous of Bernie’s two new hires.
Bernie Sanders also revealed today that he’s hired David Sirota to help run his 2020 campaign. The trouble: the Atlantic figured out that Sirota has been secretly working informally for the Bernie 2020 campaign since long before today. This is particularly troubling because Sirota has spent the past few months using his role as a journalist for the Guardian to attack Bernie’s most prominent 2020 Democratic opponents.
Whenever a political analyst calls out Bernie Sanders for these kinds of disingenuously divisive moves, many of Bernie’s supporters reflexively fire back by accusing the analyst of being the one divisive for pointing it out. But considering that Bernie just hired a Stein-voting Russia denier, and that Sanders has had an anti-Democrat attack dog secretly working for his campaign for an unknown amount of time, something is very off here. If this is the kind of campaign Bernie truly wants to run, he should drop the “unity” facade.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report