Sanders walks out of interview after tense exchange on Arpaio

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders shares star power with NY House hopeful Dems adopt minimum wage in platform draft Clinton warning about 'accessible' email adds fuel to controversy MORE on Thursday cut short an interview after a tense exchange with a reporter about a meeting between his wife and controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“What Joe Arpaio is doing is an outrage,” Sanders told reporter Brahm Resnick during an interview with NBC’s local affiliate in Flagstaff, Ariz.

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“My wife went to look at the so-called tent city, which is something that should not exist,” he added, referencing a jail operated by the Maricopa County sheriff that is fashioned from military tents.

"The fact that he crashed her meeting is, to me, very, very wrong, not something he should have done. Thank you very much.”

Sanders then stood up, removed his microphone and walked away, ending his discussion with Resnick at the Twin Arrows Casino on the Navajo Nation.

“Would you accept a spot as vice president?” Resnick asked as the Vermont senator walked off.

“[He’s] the first candidate who’s ever walked away,” Resnick said as it became clear Sanders was finished.

Resnick later said Sanders explained that he had run over his scheduled interview time.

“Sanders said my allotted four minutes were up and so he walked away,” he said.

Sanders' rapid response director Mike Casca tweeted Friday that Sanders ended the interview "after a reporter goes after his wife."

Casca clarified his remarks in a follow-up tweet published later on Friday.

"Correction: this previous tweet is inaccurate, the interview was over time," he said.  "I tweeted without full context, which is always a bad idea."

Jane Sanders visited the tent city jail in Phoenix on Tuesday, engaging in a spontaneous meeting with Arpaio after the sheriff unexpectedly joined her tour.

Bernie Sanders on Thursday blasted Arpaio as “un-American and uncivilized” for surprising his wife during her stop at the infamous facility.

Arpaio, who has endorsed GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hopes for boost from Brexit vote Trump's first fundraising email had 60 percent spam rate Trump, Clinton fundraising off Brexit vote MORE, is notorious for his hard-line stance on illegal immigration and harsh penalties for crime.

Supporters of Sanders rival Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump hopes for boost from Brexit vote Sanders shares star power with NY House hopeful Trump, Clinton fundraising off Brexit vote MORE have criticized the run-in.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) on Wednesday said it is “a shame” that Sanders's campaign had helped provide Arpaio with a national spotlight.

Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Lehrich on Friday tweeted about Sanders’s interview walkout, calling it “an interesting strategy.”

“[The] candidate who never takes questions criticizes Bernie for ending an interview after a reporter goes after his wife,” Sanders’s rapid response director Mike Casca responded on Twitter. "OK.”

“How many times has [former] Secretary [of State] Clinton taken questions since she announced?” Casca asked in response.

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