When Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigned for Hillary Clinton after his primary loss, the socialist lawmaker known for railing against fossil fuels and the high-flying lifestyles of the rich demanded private-jet travel, according to former Clinton staffers.
Sanders’ flights cost the Clinton-Kaine campaign at least $100,000 in total, three people familiar with the cost of the air travel told Politico. Most were on a Gulfstream plane.
In a video launching his 2020 presidential campaign, Politico pointed out that Sanders listed the fossil fuel industry as among his chief targets.
A campaign staffer recalled the Clinton team would “try to fight it as much as possible because of cost and availability of planes, but they would request [a jet] every time.”
“We would always try to push for commercial,” a source said. ” … At the campaign, you’re constantly trying to save like 25 cents.”
The staffers said it was so common for Sanders to request private jets that it became “a running joke in the office.”
Zac Petkanas, the director of rapid response at the time for the Clinton campaign, reacted to the claim.
“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,” he said.
‘She’s not nice’
Asked to respond to the charge, former Sanders deputy campaign manager Rania Batrice insisted the flights were necessary because of the intense schedule the Clinton campaign asked Sanders to keep in the final months of the campaign.
She said that “at no point did I ever say ‘he has to have a private plane for the sake of having a private plane.'”
Former Sanders campaign spokesman Michael Briggs slammed the Clinton team for making it an issue two years later.
“You can see why she’s one of the most disliked politicians in America,” he said. “She’s not nice. Her people are not nice.”
Briggs 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 a–holes in American politics,” he said.
Hot Air blogger John Sexton commented that Clinton’s people clearly are pushing the story to damage Sanders, at least partly because they’re still angry about his 2016 campaign and the fact that they lost.
But another reason is that the Clinton machine seems to be lining up behind the campaign of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.