Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (Nev.) said he was “surprised” Tuesday by what he called a "silly statement" issued by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders on Medicare expansion in spending package: 'Its not coming out' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden must keep progressive promises or risk losing midterms Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Study finds Pfizer vaccine almost 91 percent effective for 5 to 11 year olds MORE defending his supporters after chaos erupted at Nevada's Democratic convention.
“I’m surprised at the statement. I thought he was going to do something different,” Reid told CNN's Manu Raju in an interview. Reid's office provided a transcript of a conversation.
“Bernie should say something and not have some silly statement. Bernie is better than that. He should say something about this [and] not have some statement someone else prepared for him,” Reid said.
Reid was expecting Sanders to condemn unruly behavior at the convention, much of which Democrats have blamed on Sanders supporters.
Instead, the Sanders statement largely criticized the Democratic establishment.
Reid urged Sanders to rein in his supporters and condemn violence during a ten-minute phone conversation Tuesday, days after Sanders supporters disrupted the Nevada Democratic convention over the weekend because of what they viewed as unfair treatment.
Many supporters felt state party officials had wrongly denied them delegates by passing rules they believed favored Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE without a roll-call vote and disqualifying 64 pro-Sanders state convention delegates as ineligible. The dispute devolved into shouting matches and chairs being thrown.
State party chairwoman Roberta Lange was later bombarded with profane complaints and threats.
Reid told Sanders to take charge of his supporters during their talk Tuesday.
He said how Sanders would respond to the violent outbursts would be “a test of leadership” and said he was “hopeful and very confident that Sen. Sanders will do the right thing.”
Instead, Sanders turned the tables on the party establishment, accusing it in his statement of biased treatment.
“The Democratic Party has a choice. It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change – people who are willing to take on Wall Street, corporate greed and a fossil fuel industry which is destroying this planet,” he said.
“Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy,” he added.
The statement went on to accuse the Democratic leadership in Nevada of using “its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place.”