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Biden calls out Sanders over supporters’ online behavior

Joe Biden said he doesn’t believe fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders is doing enough to quell his fervent supporters’ “vicious, malicious” behavior online.
The former vice president was asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd whether Sanders bore any responsibility after a group of his supporters were accused of threatening members of Nevada’s powerful Culinary Workers Union for not supporting the Vermont senator’s “Medicare for All” proposal.
“He may not be responsible for it, but he has some accountability,” Biden said during the interview that will air on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “If any of my supporters did that, I’d disown them. Flat disown them.”
The tensions reached a boiling point on Friday when the union, which represents some 60,000 hospitality workers in Nevada, announced it would not be endorsing a candidate ahead of the state’s Democratic caucuses.
Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the group’s secretary-treasurer, said Sanders’ supporters had “viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families in Nevada” over its health care stance.
Hours later, the Sanders campaign issued a statement calling on “supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks.”
“Our campaign is building a multigenerational, multiracial movement of love, compassion and justice,” the statement read. “We can certainly disagree on issues, but we must do it in a respectful manner.”
Biden, who was once viewed as the odds-on favorite to win the union’s endorsement before heavy losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, said it wasn’t sufficient for the campaign to just “disassociate” itself from the attacks.
He made an impassioned pleas to Sanders to “find out who the hell” the supporters were and to investigate whether they’re working on or are employed by the campaign.
“Fire them. Find out. See what’s going on,” he said.
A poll released Friday shows Sanders leading the 2020 Democratic field in Nevada with 25 percent of the state’s likely Democratic caucusgoers supporting him. Biden came in second place with 18 percent of respondents.
Nevada will hold its Democratic presidential caucuses on Feb. 22.