It’s fair to say that bitterness over Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 has not evaporated yet, at least not among those who worked for her. Today, some of those former Clinton staffers are savaging newly announced 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders by pointing to his frequent use of private jets during 2016. According to six sources that spoke to Politico, in the final months of the campaign, Sanders demanded private jets to stump for Clinton:
“I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign…
Sanders’ flights — usually on a Gulfstream plane — cost the Clinton-Kaine campaign at least $100,000 in total, according to three people familiar with the cost of the air travel.
“We would try to fight it as much as possible because of cost and availability of planes, but they would request [a jet] every time,” one of those sources said. “We would always try to push for commercial. … At the campaign, you’re constantly trying to save like 25 cents.”
Former Clinton staffers claim it was so common for Sanders to request private jets that it became “a running joke in the office. But Sanders’ former deputy campaign manager Rania Batrice says the flights were necessary because of the intense schedule the Clinton campaign asked Sanders to keep in the final months of the campaign. She tells Politico, “at no point did I ever say ‘he has to have a private plane for the sake of having a private plane.” Other Clinton surrogates who got chartered jets for campaign appearances: Beyonce, Jay Z, and Katy Perry.
Sanders routinely bad-mouths billionaires and their high-flying lifestyles. Yachts, private jets, and helipads have all become symbols of people with an unnecessarily large carbon footprint. And yet, when it comes to politics, he’s willing to apply a different standard. The important people never really expect to live by the rules they want to set for others. Sanders and his people clearly know this is a touchy issue which is why there are no photos or video from any of these flights.
Michael Briggs, a former Sanders campaign spokesman lashed out at Clinton-world for trying to make this an issue two years later:
“You can see why she’s one of the most disliked politicians in America. She’s not nice. Her people are not nice,” he said. “[Sanders] busted his tail to fly all over the country to talk about why it made sense to elect Hillary Clinton and the thanks that [we] get is this kind of petty stupid sniping a couple years after the fact.”
“It doesn’t make me feel good to feel this way but they’re some of the biggest assholes in American politics,” he added.
No argument here. Clinton’s people clearly are pushing this story to damage Sanders at least partly because they’re still butthurt about his 2016 campaign and the fact that they lost. But there’s another likely reason this is happening now. The Clinton machine seems to be lining up behind Kamala Harris’ presidential bid. Sanders is an obvious threat to her and so it makes sense the Clinton people would want to take shots at him to damage his campaign early. In fact, I suspect we’re going to see a lot more of this in 2019. Someone microwave the popcorn, this might turn out to be extremely entertaining.
Here’s a clip about the different jets used by candidates during 2016: