More than two years after the fact, Clinton Campaign staffers still haven’t gotten over their candidate’s historic electoral drubbing at the hands of Donald Trump. And in the spirit of finding something – or someone – to blame for her crushing defeat (anyone, that is, except Secretary Clinton herself), several senior staffers unloaded on Sen. Bernie Sanders in a Politico story published on Monday that was loaded with laughable quips from both sides as they sniped at one another over whether Sanders’ use of private jets during his surrogacy for Clinton was justified.
Just as an Emerson Poll revealed (per the Daily Caller) that Sanders had emerged as an early frontrunner in the key primary state of New Hampshire (which neighbors his home state of Vermont), with 27% of respondents supporting Sanders vs. 25% for the still-undeclared Joe Biden (and 12% for Democratic establishment favorite Kamala Harris), the former Clinton staffers aired their grievances about what they described as Bernie’s insistence that he travel to Clinton campaign events via a chartered jet, even when flying commercial was a suitable alternative. They mocked the Independent Senator for his alleged hypocrisy, pointing out that private jet travel isn’t exactly a “green” mode of transportation (just look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal”).
“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,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign.
Meanwhile, Sanders staffers hit back with accusations that the Clinton set were simply still bitter about their loss and looking for somebody to blame, with one spokesman blasting “Clinton’s people” as “some of the biggest assholes in American politics.”
“You can see why she’s one of the most disliked politicians in America. She’s not nice. Her people are not nice,” he 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 assholes in American politics,” he added.
But Clinton’s campaign people complained that Sanders’ private jets – which were used for three separate multi-day trips – cost the campaign $100,000 in total
Sanders’ flights – usually on a Gulfstream plane – cost the Clinton-Kaine campaign at least $100,000 in total, according to three people familiar with the cost of the air travel.
“We would try to fight it as much as possible because of cost and availability of planes, but they would request [a jet] every time,” one of those sources said. “We would always try to push for commercial…At the campaign, you’re constantly trying to save like 25 cents.”
Sanders staffers’ argued that the private jets were used because it would have been “physically impossible” to move Sanders between the various states.
Sanders spokesperson Arianna Jones said it was physically impossible to get to all of the event locations in such a short period of time without chartered flights, especially since the senator was traveling to many smaller markets with limited commercial air travel options.
“That’s why chartered flights were used: to make sure Sen. Sanders could get to as many locations as quickly as possible in the effort to help the Democratic ticket defeat Donald Trump,” she said. “Sen. Sanders campaigned so aggressively for Secretary Clinton, at such a grueling pace, it became a story unto itself, setting the model for how a former opponent can support a nominee in a general election.”
While we’re sure it felt good for Clinton’s staffers to finally excise some the repressed rage they have been harboring toward the Sanders campaign, we imagine this story serves a dual purpose. Since Sanders has already emerged as the candidate to beat in the primary – much to the chagrin of the Democratic establishment, which has already demonstrated its well-known bias against the senator – injecting the image of “Socialist” Bernie Sanders being ferried about in a private jet is one way to kneecap the Independent Vermont Senator before campaigning even begins in earnest.