Over two dozen former staffers of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign are coordinating a meeting with the former Democratic presidential candidate and his top political advisers to resolve the “dangerous” issues of “sexual violence and harassment” that transpired on his 2016 campaign.
According to a letter obtained by Politico, a slew of men and women who worked on Sanders’ campaign are arranging the meeting to “mitigate” the looming sexual misconduct controversy ahead of the 2020 presidential cycle.
“In recent weeks there has been an ongoing conversation on social media, in texts, and in person, about the untenable and dangerous dynamic that developed during our campaign,” the letter states. “It is critically important that Senator Sanders attend this meeting to understand the full scope of the issue from 2016 and how the campaign plans to move forward.”
Alumni facilitating the meeting told Politico they intended to withhold the letter from public disclosure, but admitted that they sent the notice detailing their mitigation strategy to Sanders’s senior officials on Sunday afternoon.
Friends of Bernie Sanders, the senator’s principal campaign committee, confirmed sexual violence and harassment was problematic during the Democratic socialist’s 2016 campaign, in a statement to the publication.
“We always welcome hearing the experiences and views of our former staff,” the statement reads. “We also value their right to come to us in a private way so their confidences and privacy are respected. And we will honor this principle with respect to this private letter.
“Speaking generally, during 2016 there were a number of HR actions taken, and while it is not appropriate to discuss them individually, they ranged from employee counseling to immediate termination from the campaign.”
Former Sanders staffers who signed the letter, ranging from top officials on the 2016 campaign, maintain that their intention is not solely to address the sexual misconduct of the senator’s campaign, but to eradicate the “pervasive culture of toxic masculinity in the campaign world.”
The meeting is designed to cultivate “concrete sexual harassment policies and procedures; and a commitment to hiring diverse leadership to pre-empt the possibility of replicating the predatory culture from the first presidential campaign,” Sanders’ alumni told Politico.
In 2016, Sanders’ campaign also tried to distance the failed presidential candidate’s article in which he described how women fantasized of being raped.
Women “fantasize about being raped by three men simultaneously,” Sanders, who has slammed President Trump and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s response to sexual assault allegations, argued in his 1972 article.
“A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously,” he wrote.
The essay was published by the Vermont Freeman the same year that Sanders ran for governor of Vermont as a member of the anti-Vietnam War Liberty Union Party.
In another passage, he wrote: “Have you looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstores? Do you know why the newspapers with articles like ‘Girl, 12, raped by 14 men’ sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?”
Sander’s article also states that a man masturbates to his “typical fantasy” of a woman “tied up” and “abused.”