Bernie Sanders says he 'was a bit busy' to know about sexual misconduct allegations within his campaign

Bernie Sanders says he ‘was a bit busy’ to know about sexual misconduct allegations within his campaign

Sen. Bernie Sanders in an interview Wednesday night claimed he was too “busy” to know about the sexual misconduct allegations that internally rocked his 2016 presidential campaign, even as he apologized to any women who had not been “treated appropriately.”

Sanders was asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether he was unaware of the accusations in what one former Sanders delegate called an “entire wave of rotten sexual harassment that seemingly was never dealt with”, Sanders sarcastically replied: “Uh, yes. I was a little bit busy running around the country, trying to make the case.” He then appeared to smile.

Fox News reports:

According to The New York Times report, Brenis Sanders’ then-director of Latino outreach, Bill Velazquez, allegedly joked about a sexual harassment allegation made by a subordinate while the two worked on the Sanders campaign.

The subordinate, Latino outreach strategist Giulianna Di Lauro, claimed she told Velazquez in February 2016 that a campaign surrogate, game show host Marco Antonio Regil, repeatedly touched her in an inappropriate “sexual” manner. In response, according to Di Lauro, Velazquez remarked before laughing, “I bet you would have liked it if he were younger.”

In response to the Times’ story, Sanders’ campaign arm on Wednesday did not dispute the allegations but said “there were a number of HR actions taken” in 2016 and that some employees received counseling, while others were fired. The campaign committee noted that a new sexual-misconduct policy was implemented for Sanders’ 2018 Senate run.

Regil apologized to the paper through a spokesman for “any behavior on my part that could’ve made anyone feel uncomfortable.” Velazquez said he didn’t recall saying what he said to Di Lauro and took her complaint seriously.

The New York Times also reports that according to people who spoke with the paper and provided contemporaneous emails, a few male staffers berated female colleagues and made lewd comments. So-called “Bernie Bros,” or fans of the campaign, often made sexist attacks against then-2016 candidate Hillary Clinton as well as female reporters.

Several of the women who came forwar to The NYT said that they had shared their concerns with the high-ranking members of the Bernie campaign. Di Lauro said she alerted Rich Pelletier, who served as Sanders’ Deputy Campaign Manager and national field director, but that no substantive action was taken.

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