U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse might be glad that Bernie Sanders never made it to the White House.
In what will probably come as news to Sanders given his anti-Wall Street rhetoric, the Rhode Island liberal Democrat claimed that Wall Street bigwigs preferred Bernie over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary.
During his rivalry with Clinton, Sanders became known for his grassroots fundraising apparatus.
An independent socialist who ran for president as a Democrat and waged an unsuccessful primary contest against Hillary Clinton, the Democrat nominee who then went on to lose to now President Donald Trump in the 2016 general election, Sanders is an aggressive foe of the one-percent elite and income inequality. Through the primary season, the Vermont senator vigorously denounced the influence and greed of the banking and the financial sectors on America.
“Most of Sanders’ platform was villifying [sic] Wall Street and forcing big banks to pay more in taxes in order to fund his social welfare ideas,” the Washington Examiner recalled.
Sanders ultimately endorsed Clinton on July 12, 2016, in New Hampshire.
Earlier this week, Sen. Whitehouse shocked the MSNBC Morning Joe panel by initially challenging the assumption that Wall Street money managers preferred Hillary Clinton over Trump by claiming that they were were funding Sanders in the run-up to the key New Hampshire primary.
When reminded by a stunned Joe Scarborough that he was on national television and his remarks would be archived on transcripts, the senator admitted that Wall Street favored Clinton in the 2016 general election “because [Trump] is potentially a dangerous and a very unpredictable person.”
Senator Whitehouse then went to make this claim about supposedly anti-Clinton Wall Street campaign donors.
“But they did not want Hillary Clinton to win; that is why Wall Street money supported Bernie Sanders in in Democratic primaries to take her out because they thought she would be the stronger candidate.”
Scarborough and Morning Mika both seemed shocked by that assertion, with Joe disagreeing with Whitehouse’s double-negative assertion that “you can’t pretend that didn’t happen.”
In response, Scarborough underscored what he described as both Clintons’ extraordinarily close relationship with Wall Street going back three decades. See clip below.
A U.S. senator since 2007, Whitehouse was appointed as Rhode Island’s U.S. attorney by then president Bill Clinton in 1994. He also was on board as the co-chair of both of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bids (2008 and 2016).
That Hillary Clinton raked in Wall Street cash for her political campaigns has been widely reported and in part turned off potential crossover voters from the Bernie cohort.
According to Boston Magazine, Sen. Whitehouse might be using alternative facts.
“The Clinton campaign received more campaign contributions from the securities and investment industry than any other candidate in either party during the primaries and general election—to the tune of $84.7 million. In fact, Wall Street megadonors were consistently among the top sources of cash for the Clinton campaign and pro-Clinton super PACs.”
Added the Observer about the Whitehouse MSNBC appearance,
“To the contrary, Wall Street didn’t back Sanders. Clinton…depended on Super PAC money and Wall Street to keep up with Sanders’ grassroots fundraising…Clinton’s close relationship with Wall Street has been a constant throughout her political career. Clinton has received millions of dollars from paid speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs and other Wall street firms…Though most people are fully aware of the Clintons’ ties to Wall Street, Whitehouse attempts to treat Wall Street as a foe of the Democratic Party. “
On several recent occasions, Bernie Sanders blasted the Democratic Party agenda as a failure and out-of-touch with its traditional middle/working class constituency, many of whom went to Trump, a former Democrat and independent, on Election Day.
Although Sen. Sanders has described President Trump as a phony, a liar, a bigot, a demagogue, and someone who is supposedly seeking to advance an extremist agenda, he has expressed a willingness to work with him on some aspects of his agenda such as improving Obamacare, an infrastructure spending bill, international trade issues, and bringing down prescription drug prices.
In January, Sanders gave Trump credit for taking on and defeating both the Republican and Democratic establishments as well as the mainstream media establishment on his way to victory.
Although he’s been keeping a high profile in the media and at political rallies around the country, it’s unclear if Bernie Sanders will seek the presidency again in 2020.
Bernie Sanders, 75, has been a member of Congress since 1991 (and a U.S. senator since 2007) and voted for most of the Obama agenda over the prior eight years. Prior to his election to the U.S. House, Sanders served eight years as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont.
Do you think that it’s plausible that Bernie Sanders is in the pocket of Wall Street, as Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse claims?
[Featured Image by Steven Senne/AP Images]