Sanders campaign: ‘Appalling’ that Biden ‘refuses to admit he was dead wrong on the Iraq War’
Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign is ramping up its attacks on Joe Biden, accusing the former senator and vice president of attempting to “rewrite history” when it comes to his voting record on the Iraq War.
“It is appalling that after 18 years Joe Biden still refuses to admit he was dead wrong on the Iraq War, the worst foreign policy blunder in modern American history,” Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign, said in a statement late Saturday. “Unlike 23 of his Senate colleagues who got it right, Biden made explicitly clear that he was voting for war, and even after the war started, he boasted that he didn’t regret it.”
Weaver’s comments come as Sanders escalates his attacks on Biden ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Among other things, Sanders has repeatedly targeted Biden over his votes for “terrible” trade agreements and his 2002 vote to authorize military action in Iraq. Sanders voted against the measure.
Weaver issued the statement just a day after former Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of Biden’s position on Iraq. Kerry, acting as a surrogate on Biden’s “We Know Joe” bus tour in Iowa, pushed back against Sanders’s characterization of the Iraq War vote, claiming that “there was a difference in people who felt they needed to give a president the leverage to be able to get Saddam Hussein back to the table without having to go to war.”
“That vote was unfortunately structured in a way that it was sort of either-or,” Kerry said, according to NBC News.
“It was a mistake to have trusted [the George W. Bush administration], I guess, and we paid a high price for it,” Kerry added. “But that was not voting for the war.”
The comments echo Biden’s own defenses of his decisions ahead of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In response, Weaver said late Saturday that Sanders “saw the same information and had the judgment to vote against the Iraq War.” The campaign also accused Kerry of trying to “distort” the record.
“That’s the kind of commander in chief we need — someone with the toughness and judgment to get those calls right, not someone who undermined Democratic opposition, enthusiastically supported a disastrous war, refuses to admit mistakes, and then tries to rewrite history,” Weaver said.
David Sirota, a speechwriter for Sanders, tweeted that “isn’t getting away with rewriting history about how he helped lead America into the Iraq War.”
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
President Trump’s decision to order an airstrike that killed Iranian military leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport has reignited discussions over lawmakers’ decisions ahead of the invasion of Iraq. The move, which led to increasing tensions between the U.S., Iran and Iraq, has been condemned by Biden and Sanders.
“The unintended consequences of the Iraq War show us why we must stand up to Trump, do everything possible to prevent a war with Iran, and end endless wars,” Sanders tweeted earlier this month.