Finance

Kennedy: Tanden called Sanders everything but ‘ignorant slut’

Greg Nash

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) blasted President Biden’s nominee to head his budget office over her past rhetoric against Republicans and progressives alike, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), using his trademark colorful language.

“I’m very disturbed about your personal comments about people,” he said at a Senate Budget Committee confirmation hearing for Neera Tanden, Biden’s nominee to direct the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“I mean, you called Sen. Sanders everything but an ignorant slut.”

The remark was a reference to “Saturday Night Live” skits from the 1970s involving the “Weekend Update” anchors Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin.

Tanden, who faced significant criticism in two hearings over harsh comments she made on Twitter while heading the Center for American Progress think tank, interjected to Kennedy’s remark.

“That is not true,” she said, before reiterating that she regretted her past comments.

Earlier in the hearing, Sanders himself called her previous comments “vicious.”

Tanden, who had worked as an aide in Hillary Clinton’s Senate office and vociferously backed her candidacy for president in 2016, deleted a slew of old tweets in recent months.

She had also compared Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to a vampire and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to “Harry Potter” villain Voldemort.

Kennedy pressed her on whether she meant what she said at the time.

“I must have meant them, but I really regret them,” Tanden said after repeatedly evading the question.

Tanden found support on the issue from some Democrats, who noted a double standard given the incendiary rhetoric that former President Trump repeatedly dished out on Twitter.

“We’ve endured four years of the ultimate mean tweets,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

“I know we were all thinking that, and certainly I don’t want to hold you to a higher standard, but we certainly want to turn the page on how we move forward together,” she added.

As the hearing came to a close, Kennedy issued a humorous point of clarification to Sanders.

“I want the record to reflect that I did not call Sen. Sanders an ignorant slut,” he said.

“I don’t know how I should take that, Sen. Kennedy,” Sanders responded.

Tags Appropriations Bernie Sanders Budget Debbie Stabenow Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden John Kennedy Mitch McConnell Neera Tanden Office of Management and Budget OMB Ted Cruz

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