Bernie Sanders apologized Monday to Joe Biden over an op-ed written by a supporter and circulated by his campaign alleging that the former vice president “has a big corruption problem.”
Following an MLK Day march in Columbia, S.C. alongside Biden and other 2020 contenders, Sanders distanced himself from the op-ed, telling CBS News that “it is absolutely not my view that Joe Biden is corrupt in any way. And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared . . . We don’t need to demonize people who may disagree with us.”
The op-ed, published in The Guardian and written by Fordham Law professor and Sanders supporter Zephyr Teachout, calls out “the transactional, grossly corrupt culture” of Biden’s record.
“It looks like ‘Middle Class’ Joe has perfected the art of taking big contributions, then representing his corporate donors at the cost of middle- and working-class Americans,” Teachout argues. “Converting campaign contributions into legislative favors and policy positions isn’t being ‘moderate’. It is the kind of transactional politics Americans have come to loathe.”
The campaign then circulated the op-ed under its “Bern Notice” newsletter, only to later delete it.
Biden responded to the initial barb by saying that the Sanders campaign “lied” about his record, and later took to Twitter to thank Sanders for his reconciliatory comments.
“Let’s all keep our focus on making Donald Trump a one-term president,” Biden tweeted.
Thanks for acknowledging this, Bernie. These kinds of attacks have no place in this primary. Let’s all keep our focus on making Donald Trump a one-term president. https://t.co/tmFbLm98xd
— Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) (@JoeBiden) January 21, 2020
President Trump and Republicans have long been focused on the Bidens and their alleged conflict of interest, with Hunter Biden’s role in Ukraine causing President Trump to mention him on a July call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, a move that sparked impeachment.
“I think the Bidens are as corrupt as the day is long,” Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said last week. “No young man who is the son of a politician gets $50,000 a month who has no experience, working for a Ukrainian oligarch. You know, for goodness sakes — it smells to high heaven. It smells like corruption.”