Former Vermont Governor: Sanders ‘will play dirty’

Greg Nash

Vermont’s former governor went after Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday, saying that the longtime senator was willing to “play dirty” during campaigns.

Former Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), who was Vermont’s governor from 2011 to 2017, told Politico that Sanders, an independent and a self-described Democratic socialist, lacks loyalty to the Democratic party.

“What I’ve seen in Bernie’s politics is he and his team feel they’re holier than the rest. In the end, they will play dirty because they think that they pass a purity test that Republicans and most Democrats don’t pass,” Shumlin told the publication.

“What you’re seeing now is, in the end, even if he considers you a friend, like [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie will come first. That’s the pattern we’ve seen over the years in Vermont, and that’s what we are seeing now nationally,” he added.

Shumlin is referring to the weeklong spat between the two progressive candidates. Early in the week, multiple sources reported that in 2018 Sanders had told Warren in a private meeting that he didn’t believe that a woman could win the White House in 2020.

Sanders categorically denied the reports, and in response Warren released an official statement standing by her claim. 

The tension was obvious during Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate in Iowa. After the conclusion of the debate, a hot mic picked up the two in a short scrape that ended with both senators parting ways angrily. 

Shumlin, who has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden, also said that Sanders was trying to “Hillarize,” Warren, referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“We should be weakening Donald Trump, not each other,” Shumlin said. “I’m concerned that we’re seeing a replay of the kind of dynamics that didn’t allow Hillary to win.”

In 2016, Clinton beat Sanders out for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Tags 2020 Democratic presidential debates 2020 Democratic presidential primaries Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Peter Shumlin Vermont

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