Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said he doesn’t want support from the sexist “Bernie bros” backing his campaign.
In a CNN interview Sunday, Sanders condemned the largely online backers who have made gender-based derogatory remarks about Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
“I have heard about it. It’s disgusting,” Sanders said of the “Bernie bro” phenomenon. “Look, we don’t want that crap. We will do everything we can, and I think we have tried.”
“Look, you know that anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things is — we don’t want them,” he continued. “I don’t want that. That is not what this campaign is about.”
The “Bernie bro” has largely been defined as a Sanders backer who aggressively and condescendingly attacks Clinton and her supporters online on social media, often in a way that’s perceived to have a gendered inclination.
Clinton’s campaign has criticised Sanders for not doing more to condemn individuals who hassle Clinton supporters online.
During a Bloomberg Politics breakfast in New Hampshire last week, Clinton campaign press secretary Brian Fallon called on the Sanders campaign to control Internet commenters who were aggressively confronting Clinton supporters online.
“Distinct from the candidate and the candidate proper, there is a support base for Sen. Sanders’ candidacy that has been shorthanded as the so-called Bernie bros,” Fallon said. “Anyone who engages in social media in support of Hillary Clinton has encountered this element. It has been nasty, it has been vitriolic.”
He added: “I think that the Sanders campaign needs to be ware the extent to which in an attempt to mobilize and galvanize their supporters, they start to let the mentality or the crudeness seep into their own words and criticisms that they hurl at Sec. Clinton.”
For its part, the Sanders campaign itself has acknowledged the issue.
Last month, Sanders’ rapid response director Mike Casca reminded backers to be respectful to voters supporting other campaigns.
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