Sanders says he did not know about sexual harassment allegations during campaign

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (I-Vt.) said he was unaware at the time of allegations that aides working on his campaign experienced sexism and harassment in 2016.

Sanders on Wednesday responded to a New York Times report that nearly a dozen female staffers on his campaign claim to have been harassed and their superiors handled their claims improperly.

“I was a little bit busy running around the country, trying to make the case,” Sanders told CNN's Anderson Cooper, regarding his knowledge of the allegations.

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Sanders noted that if he ran for president again in 2020, he would “do better next time.”

The progressive senator also added that he was “very proud of the campaign we ran in 2016.”

“I am not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right in terms of human resources, in terms of addressing the needs that I am hearing from now that women felt disrespected, that there was sexual harassment, which was not dealt with as effectively as possible,” Sanders said.

He said that in his recently successful re-election campaign for Senate, he put several principles and policies in place, including training programs and reporting procedures that he called the “gold standard.”

The Times report included detailed accounts from several staffers, including one instance where a staffer working in Nevada said a supervisor ran his hands through her hair in a "sexual way" and her reports of the incident were laughed off. 

The report comes just days after more than two dozen alumni of Sanders’ 2016 campaign said they sent him a letter requesting a meeting to discuss "sexual violence and harassment" that took place while working on the campaign.