Top Sanders official on Harris: There's a lot of 'unfairness baked into the system'

A top 2020 campaign official for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP Iowa senator suggests Trump impeachment defense could hurt Biden at caucuses On The Money: Stocks close with steep losses driven by coronavirus fears | Tax season could bring more refund confusion | Trump's new wins for farmers may not undo trade damage Sanders launches first TV ads in Nevada MORE (I-Vt.) responded sympathetically Thursday to Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? MORE’s (D-Calif.) exit from the Democratic presidential primary race earlier this week.

During an interview with Hill.TV, Nina Turner said there is a lot of “unfairness baked into the system,” saying the California senator faced systemic racism and sexism in her bid for the Democratic nomination.

“There is no doubt that systemic racism is real and that it even bumps up against people as successful as Senator Harris,” Turner, co-chairwoman Sanders's presidential campaign, said.

“She is a black woman in America — that is baked in,” she added.

In addition to sexism and racism, Turner also cited economics a key hurdle not only to Harris’s campaign but for all candidates who don't happen to be billionaires, adding that wealthy candidates shouldn’t be able to “buy” their way into elections.

“We need real campaign finance reform,” she told Hill.TV.

Turner’s comments come after Harris formally ended her presidential bid on Tuesday.

In a lengthy email to supporters, Harris acknowledged that her campaign no longer had the financial resources it needed to stay afloat. She also appeared to take a swipe at billionaire candidates such as Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerSouth Carolina woman behind popular Obama slogan says she backs Steyer Overnight Energy: Sanders scores highest on green group's voter guide | Trump's latest wins for farmers may not undo trade damage | Amazon employees defy company to speak on climate change Steyer would have owed M more in taxes under lawmakers' proposal: liberal group MORE and Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergSteyer would have owed M more in taxes under lawmakers' proposal: liberal group Majority sees no ties between business experience and political success Fifth congressional Democrat backs Bloomberg in 2020 race MORE vying for the nomination.

“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete,” Harris wrote.

Several of Harris's former 2020 contenders spoke out following her exit. 

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian CastroJulian CastroThe Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements MORE blasted the media, saying coverage of Harris’s campaign was unfair and that the senator was held to a "different standard."

Fellow Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' Black caucus in Nevada: 'Notion that Biden has all of black vote is not true' The Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two MORE (D-N.J.), meanwhile, expressed frustration on Wednesday about Harris dropping out of the contest, calling it a “damn shame.”

“I’ve seen the bile, the anger, from my family members, to people in the Congressional Black Caucus, to leaders of color across this country who just don’t understand how we’ve gotten to a point now where there’s more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people,” Booker told BuzzFeed’s News’s "AM to DM."

—Tess Bonn