On Thursday, Bernie Sanders stunned a lot of people when he literally said that Hillary Clinton isn’t “qualified to be president.” He then doubled-down with this attack on Friday, though he insists her campaign started it and he was simply responding to her attacks.
The problem is, in both instances Sanders claims Clinton or her campaign said something that they didn’t.
His remarks on Thursday were based on a Washington Post article titled Clinton Questions Whether Sanders is Qualified to be President. However, if you actually read the article absolutely nowhere does she say that she doesn’t believe he’s qualified to be president.
In fact, in the interview she did with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough that the article was based on, she was actually pressed by the “Morning Joe” host numerous times on whether or not she felt Sanders was qualified to be president, and refused to take the bait. All she did was point out that many of his answers during an interview with the New York Daily News were rather poor (which is true) and said that she was going to let the voters decide who’s the most qualified to be president.
Again, never once did she say Sanders wasn’t qualified to be president. And had Bernie Sanders or his campaign actually read the article they would have seen that. So, on Thursday when Sanders said, “She has been saying lately that she thinks I am quote-unquote not qualified to be president,” either he was lying or displaying incompetence because neither he or his campaign apparently felt the need to verify what Clinton actually said before he went out and made these comments.
Then on Friday, once again, he claimed to be quoting another attack from the Clinton campaign when commenting to reporters about his statement on Thursday.
“That is what was thrown at me,” Sanders said. “Now, the other thing is that I believe the Clinton campaign told CNN, and I quote, that their strategy as we go into New York and to Pennsylvania, I guess, is quote, disqualify him, defeat him and unify the party later.”
Once again, neither Clinton nor her campaign actually said that.
Those exact words come from this CNN article and were written by the author of that piece, Jeff Zeleny. It was Mr. Zeleny summarizing what he thinks is Clinton’s strategy heading into New York. It was not, as Sanders said on Friday, a “quote” from Clinton’s campaign.
Just for the record, Donald Trump recently tried to use words I wrote (similar to what Sanders has done here) to claim a former Republican senator said something about Ted Cruz that he never said. This was rightly blasted by the media as Trump’s campaign being sloppy and loose with the facts.
Pro-Sanders folks can slam me all they want for writing this – and I’m sure they will. But the truth of the matter is, on back-to-back days, Bernie Sanders incorrectly attributed quotes to Hillary Clinton and her campaign that neither ever said.
I’m not going to say he owes Hillary Clinton an apology, but I do think he needs to make a public statement where he admits that twice he inaccurately claimed Clinton and her campaign said things that they actually didn’t.
This isn’t a “matter of opinion,” or something that’s subjective. What he’s claimed Clinton and her campaign said about him never happened – period.