Sen. Bernie Sanders took former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to task for her recent scorching comments about him, in which she claimed that “nobody likes him” and that the Vermont independent fosters a toxic culture among his supporters, in a clip from an interview with Norah O’Donnell broadcast Friday on CBS.
When asked to respond to Clinton’s questions about his effectiveness as president and charges that his campaign has allowed his supporters to attack his competitors, “particularly the women,” Sanders shook his head and said, “I am sorry for what Secretary Clinton had to say. I know she said that nobody likes me, right? I mean, this is not the kind of rhetoric that we need right now, when we are trying to bring the Democratic Party together to defeat the most dangerous president in American history.”
Clinton’s comments to The Hollywood Reporter reignited tensions between the 2016 Democratic presidential rivals when they emerged earlier this week.
O’Donnell asked Sanders whether he would denounce attacks made by his supporters, to which he replied, “I have, of course.”
Sanders recently apologized to former Vice President Joe Biden after one of his campaign surrogates, Zephyr Teachout, wrote an op-ed in The Guardian charging that Biden’s “record represents the transactional, grossly corrupt culture in Washington.”
“It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way. And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared,” Sanders told CBS News on Monday, denouncing Teachout’s claim.
O’Donnell asked Sanders whether he believes it is important to have Clinton’s supporters behind him if he becomes the nominee. Although Clinton initially had been hesitant to declare that she would support Sanders if he won the nomination, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m not going to go there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season,” Sanders said he was ready to welcome Clinton supporters with open arms.
“Well, right now my job is to win in Iowa. It’s to win in New Hampshire, do everything we can. But what Secretary Clinton did indicate – I was glad to hear this – is that she would support the Democratic nominee. And if that’s me, I look forward to her support,” he said.
Clinton had later tweeted a clarification, saying that “the number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee.”
Sanders was also asked if he had spoken to Clinton recently, to which he responded, “it’s been quite a while.”
His campaign had initially chosen not to react Clinton’s comments to The Hollywood Reporter, instead redirecting attention to the impeachment.
“My focus today is on a monumental moment in American history: the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Together, we are going to go forward and defeat the most dangerous president in American history” Sanders said in a statement released Tuesday.
Later that day, he quipped to reporters on Capitol Hill, as he was making his way to the Senate floor for the start of the impeachment trial, “On a good day my wife likes me, so let’s clear the air on that one.”
Sanders was asked by reporters that day why he thinks Clinton is still talking about 2016.
“That is a good question, ask her,” he said.