Reprinted with permission from Alternet
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont had an angry outburst on Wednesday at a reporter inquiring about his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.
Sanders was discussing the coronavirus outbreak, which he called an “unprecedented crisis of our lifetime,” with a group of reporters.
CNN’s Manu Raju, one of the most dogged reporters on Capitol Hill, asked Sanders about his plans for the campaign. On Tuesday, Sanders suffered a bruising defeat as former Vice President Joe Biden swept big wins in Florida, Illinois, and Arizona and increased his delegate lead. Analysts believe there’s little likelihood that Sanders could catch up to Biden at this point and still win the nomination. The senator said earlier in the day that he is “assessing” the state of his campaign.
“The next primary contest is at least three weeks away. Sen. Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders campaign manager said in a statement. “In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”
But when Raju asked about a timeline for this reassessment Wednesday afternoon, Sanders wasn’t happy.
“I’m dealing with a fucking global crisis,” Sanders said. “You know, we’re dealing with.”
Raju noted that he’s running for president.
“Well. right now, right now I’m trying to do my best to make sure that we don’t have an economic meltdown and that people don’t die,” Sander shot back. “Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?”
Sanders “was furious,” Raju said of the exchange in a series of tweets. “Afterwards, he mellowed out and answered questions about the crisis for about two more minutes.”
PBS’s Lisa Desjardins noted that she had asked Sanders about his campaign before Raju’s question, and he had said “no comment.”
Sanders is clearly under pressure from both the pandemic and his flagging campaign. Given the outbreak, and given his dwindling chances of making a comeback, it may be his best move to withdraw from the race to ensure that no one goes unnecessarily to a crowded polling location.