In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote the upcoming Hulu documentary, Hillary, Clinton laid into her 2016 Democratic primary rival who she has previously accused of contributing to her eventual election defeat to Donald Trump. Clinton said Sanders and his team have relentlessly attacked Democratic women, and she threw her support behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has faced abuse for claiming Sanders told her during a private meeting that a woman couldnt win the election.
Clintons stinging attack came the day after Sanders was forced to apologize to former Vice President Joe Biden because his campaign had promoted an overzealous op-ed by one of his surrogates accusing Biden of having a big corruption problem.
The Hollywood Reporter was interviewing Clinton about the upcoming Hulu documentary and read her a quote from one of the scenes: [Sanders] was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. Its all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.
Asked if that assessment still stood, Clinton said yes and then went further. She refused to say whether she would endorse him if her party chose him as its 2020 candidate, but made it clear that she hoped that wouldnt happen.
Clinton and Sanders fell out in a big way during the 2016 campaign but she was not expected to intervene so powerfully in the current race. In her 2017 book, What Happened, Clinton argued that Sanders attacks against her during the primary contributed to Trumps shock victory. She wrote that Sanders resorted to innuendo and impugning my character because he was unable to criticize her effectively on policy, which she believes caused her lasting damage when it came to November 2016.
Clinton has now told the Hollywood Reporter that the entire Sanders 2020 operation is a problem.
Its not only him, its the culture around him, she said. Its his leadership team. Its his prominent supporters. Its his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culturenot only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it.
Clinton went on to accuse Sanders of giving his supporters tacit approval to go after female nominees such as Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris by giving them a wink.She appeared to discourage people from voting for Sanders on that basis, saying: I think that thats a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions.
Clinton became particularly heated when asked about Warrens claim that Sanders told her a woman couldnt win the presidency.
Sanders denied that he had said it during last weeks televised debate and Warren initially tried to diffuse the situation, saying, Bernie is my friend, and Im not here to try to fight with Bernie.
Warrens irritation boiled over at the end of the debate, however, and she confronted Sanders on stage, thinking the cameras were no longer rolling. CNN eventually released a recording that showed her facing him down over the denial. I think you called me a liar on national TV, she said.
Clinton obviously shared Warrens frustration. She said it was nonsense to say a woman couldnt win since she won the primaries in 2016 and got around three million more votes than Trump later that year. Then she turned on Sanders once again, claiming his campaign had gone after Elizabeth [Warren] with a very personal attack on her after her disclosure.
If it were a one-off, you might say, OK, fine, said Clinton. But he said I was unqualified. I had a lot more experience than he did, and got a lot more done than he had, but that was his attack on me. I just think people need to pay attention because we want, hopefully, to elect a president whos going to try to bring us together, and not either turn a blind eye, or actually reward the kind of insulting, attacking, demeaning, degrading behavior that weve seen from this current administration.
Elsewhere in the interview, Clinton said she had talked to Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and practically everybody who either has run for the Democratic nomination or is still running. When asked if Sanders was excluded from that, she confirmed, by a nod of the head, that he wasnt.
Asked what advice shes given, Clinton said she told the female candidates: You can run the best campaign, but youre going to have to be even better than your best campaign to overcome some of the unfairness that will be directed at you as a woman.
Sanders has declined to comment.