Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) thinks there’s a chance that money has affected how his main rival sees the world.
In a CNBC interview published Tuesday, Sanders said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s money “hustle” makes her out of touch with the average American.
“Theoretically you could be a multibillionaire and, in fact, be very concerned about the issues of working people,” Sanders reflected. “Theoretically that’s true.”
Sanders was responding to a question on the latest revelation about the wealth obtained by Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Newly-revealed documents showed the two earned more than $US25 million in speeches alone since 2014. In total, the Clintons have reportedly earned more than $US130 million in speaking fees since Bill Clinton left the White House.
The Vermont senator went on to directly question whether Hillary Clinton would in fact be “very concerned” about issues affecting the poor. Speaking at a Capitol Hill bistro, Sanders noted to CNBC’s John Harwood that the Clintons would probably not eat dinner at the establishment where the interview took place.
“When you hustle money like that, you don’t sit in restaurants like this. You sit in restaurants where you spend — I don’t know what they spend — hundreds of dollars for dinner and so forth. That’s the world that you are accustomed to. And that’s the worldview that you adopt,” he said.
The Clintons’ wealth has drawn a heavy amount of scrutiny from both their political foes and the press amid Hillary Clinton’s White House bid. Conservatives have tried to link the speech payments and donations to the Clinton Foundation to alleged favours doled out by the State Department while she was secretary of state. Both of the Clintons have fiercely denied any such exchanges.
For his part, Sanders said, “I’m not going to condemn Hillary and Bill Clinton because they have made a lot of money. [But] that type of wealth has the potential to isolate you from the reality of the world.”
The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on Sanders’ remarks. However, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly stressed her record of fighting for issues important to working-class families since launching her campaign last month. Perhaps to counter allegations of elitism, Clinton’s presence on the presidential campaign trail has been largely limited to events with “everyday Americans.”
“She’s not out of touch, and she advocated and worked as a senator for things that were good for ordinary people,” Bill Clinton said last year, according to PBS. “And before that all her life — I remember when we were in law school, she was out trying to get legal assistance for poor people.”
Sanders is Clinton’s only announced rival for the 2016 Democratic nomination, though other contenders are expected to announce soon.
Watch Sanders’ full CNBC interview below:
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