Sanders hires liberal commentator who frequently criticized other 2020 Dems

Sanders hires liberal commentator who frequently criticized other 2020 Dems
© Stefani Reynolds

A prominent liberal commentator and journalist hired as an adviser to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' The generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party MORE’s (I-Vt.) nascent presidential campaign spent months attacking the candidate’s Democratic opponents, even as he was advising Sanders in an informal capacity.

Sanders’s campaign announced Tuesday that it had hired David Sirota, a well-known liberal commentator and radio host, as a senior communications adviser and speechwriter.

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But a report published by The Atlantic on Tuesday showed that Sirota had been working for Sanders in an unofficial capacity for months.

During that time, Sirota sharply criticized other Democrats, including former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who just announced a White House bid last week.

It's unclear if Sirota was being paid for his work prior to his formal hiring to the campaign. 

A spokesperson for Sanders's campaign did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

After he was contacted by The Atlantic on Monday about his work for Sanders, Sirota reportedly deleted more than 20,000 posts from his Twitter account.

Sirota’s informal work for Sanders was previously unknown. Sanders’s campaign only announced Sirota’s formal hiring on Tuesday.

Faiz Shakir, the senator’s campaign manager, confirmed to The Atlantic Tuesday afternoon that Sirota had been working in an advisory role on the campaign for several months.

Sirota often waved off criticism of his attacks on other Democrats by saying that he was simply evaluating candidates as a journalist.

In tweets, Sirota dismissed critics as “deranged” or “mentally incapacitated,” according to excerpts of the posts published by The Atlantic.

Sirota directed his ire at O’Rourke in particular, going after the El Paso Democrat’s voting record in Congress.

But he also criticized other Democratic presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe generational divide of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina Booker, O'Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald's workers in South Carolina MORE (N.J.) Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA 2020 Democrats mark 7th anniversary of DACA Julián Castro defends going on Fox: I'm focused on 'the people out there watching' MORE (N.Y.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Buttigieg on Biden's Iraq War vote: 'that vote was a mistake' Ocasio-Cortez starts petition to repeal Hyde Amendment MORE.

Sirota’s criticism of candidates while unofficially advising Sanders could prompt tensions in the emerging Democratic primary field, which has largely avoided personal attacks and intra-party fighting so far.

In an email to supporters on Tuesday, Sirota announced that he had joined Sanders’s campaign, saying that the offer was one he could not reject.

“[W]hen Bernie asked me to join his campaign, I felt I could not turn that request down, because I genuinely believe that the future of our country, our planet and our children are at stake in this election,” Sirota wrote.