Reid blames Sanders' 'people' for Nevada convention chaos

Story highlights

  • Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid blames Bernie Sanders supporters for state convention chaos
  • Reid said the Vermont senator should not "accept" how his backers behaved

Washington (CNN)Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sharply criticized Bernie Sanders' supporters for turning the Nevada Democratic Convention into chaos over the weekend, saying the Vermont senator should not "accept" how his backers behaved.

"I've been dealing with Nevada state conventions for 50 years: To say I was disappointed was an understatement," Reid told CNN in the Capitol on Monday.
    "I hold his people accountable, and I'm sure if Bernie found out about it, he would not accept what happened there," Reid said.
    Sanders' spokesman Michael Briggs pushed back at Reid's comments, calling on Democrats to harness the energy of his boss' backers.
    "The Democratic Party would be doing itself a favor if it could find a way to embrace the millions of people who have been energized by Bernie's campaign and want to participate in the democratic process," Briggs said.
    Sanders supporters shouted, cursed and screamed during the course of the proceedings -- hurling chairs and prompting major security concerns, according to local news reports.
    Before the convention, Reid and Sanders privately spoke to head off a possible chaotic scene. After the call, they both agreed to release a joint statement urging Sanders' supporters to act respectfully.
    But instead, the convention turned into bedlam.
    On Monday, Reid would not call on Sanders to leave the race after June 7 -- even if he is still trailing Clinton in pledged delegates. Sanders has vowed to take the race to the convention, prompting concerns that such a scene could be replicated in Philadelphia.
    Reid, who has perhaps the closest relationship with Sanders of any senator, but backs Clinton, said he would leave the decision on when to drop out to his colleague.
    "He has to make those decisions," Reid said. "He can do whatever he wants. He has not asked me advice on what he should do."
    Reid has been consistent in his suggestion that Sanders should stay in the race as long as he wants, saying in February that a contested convention could be "kind of fun."