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Biden urges Sanders to take accountability for supporters’ threats on culinary union

Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden criticized fellow candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in a sit-down, pre-taped interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying that Sanders should’ve done more to condemn the “outrageous threats” that his supporters directed at Nevada’s Culinary Union.

In the interview with host Chuck Todd set to air on Sunday, Biden said, “You know me well enough to know if any of my supporters did that, I’d disown them. Flat disown them.”

“The stuff that was said online. The way they threatened these two women who are leaders in that culinary union. It is outrageous. Just — just go online,” he continued. 

“[Sanders] may not be responsible for it, but he has some accountability.”

The culinary union — one the most influential unions in Nevada — was bashed by Sanders supporters online for distributing flyers that said his “Medicare for All” proposal would “end culinary health care” by replacing private plans with government-run insurance.

The union responded, calling the attacks “disappointing.”

The back-and-forth between the candidates, union and Sanders’s supporters comes as Nevada hosts its Democratic nominating contest next Saturday, Feb. 22. 

Sanders addressed the attacks, saying: “Harassment of all forms is unacceptable to me, and we urge supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks.”

But Biden criticized Sanders response, saying that he would have gone further.

“I don’t know who these so-called supporters are,” Biden continued.  “We’re living in a strange world on the Internet. And sometimes people attack people in somebody else’s name. But let me be very clear. Anybody making personal attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of my movement.”

Late this week, the union declined to endorse any primary candidate before the state’s caucuses.

“We will endorse our goals,” Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the union’s secretary-treasurer said Thursday. “We’re not going to endorse a political candidate. We respect every single political candidate right now.”

Biden also hit Sanders on his record, or lack thereof, in passing his progressive proposals. 
 
“He’s never gotten anything done,” Biden said. “He’s been talking about health care, ‘Medicare For All,’ universal health care for 35 years. Nothing’s happened.”
 
Biden added that he helped pass Obamacare, by helping to secure votes as vice president. 
 
“I think people are so tired of the lack of straightforwardness out there,” Biden said. “Now if I’m  wrong, I’m going to be dead wrong, but I really believe you have to lay out why you’re doing what you’re doing and how you’re going to get it done.” 

The comments also come as Biden tries to gain a foothold at the top of the 2020 pack in Nevada, where Sanders is currently polling in the top spot at 25 percent support. 

Tags 2020 Democratic presidential primaries Bernie Sanders Chuck Todd Culinary Union Culinary Union Joe Biden
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