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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Wage growth shaping up as key 2020 factor for Trump Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' 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 HarrisCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' Tulsi Gabbard fundraises off 4/20: 'Appalls me' that feds consider marijuana illegal MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' 2020 Dems ratchet up anti-corporate talk in bid to woo unions MORE (N.J.) Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' 2020 Dems ratchet up anti-corporate talk in bid to woo unions MORE (N.Y.) and former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenCory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris 2020 Dems ratchet up anti-corporate talk in bid to woo unions Resurfaced Buttigieg yearbook named him 'most likely to be president' 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.