WASHINGTON, D.C. — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a member of the U.S. Senate Democratic leadership team, has thus far refused to condemn a supporter of his who is in FBI custody facing charges for alleged involvement in a string of anti-Semitic threats nationwide.
Breitbart News can exclusively confirm that a spokesman for Sanders, Josh Miller Lewis, is personally aware of the fact that one of the Senator’s supporters is in FBI custody on charges relating to the string of anti-Semitic threats nationwide. When news broke early Friday that Juan Thompson, a Sanders voter who was formerly a reporter with The Intercept who was terminated for pushing fake news and fabricating sources, was arrested, Breitbart News reached out to Sanders’ office for comment.
The first comment-seeking email to Sanders’ office was sent at 11:28 a.m. Eastern on Friday morning. It included an attachment, a screen grab of Thompson’s Tweet from last summer admitting he voted for Sanders. The email asked if Sanders would condemn Thompson with the revelation that Thompson is in FBI custody for alleged connection to and involvement with dozens of bomb threats against a hundred Jewish Community Centers, schools, and museums nationwide. Miller Lewis, the deputy communications director in Sanders’ U.S. Senate office, replied asking for a link to the Tweet.
“Do you have a link?” Miller Lewis wrote back to Breitbart News’s request for comment.
Breitbart News sent him a link to Thompson’s Tweet and gave Sanders all day to respond. Breitbart News followed up with Miller Lewis at 1:35 p.m., 3:59 p.m., 5:49 p.m., and 5:52 p.m. asking whether Sanders will condemn the alleged anti-Semitic actions by Thompson. He has not responded to any of those inquiries. A quick scan of Sanders’ Twitter accounts—both his campaign account and his official Senate account—shows no mention of his supporter Thompson or any condemnation of the threats. There is no statement on Sanders’ campaign website and no statement or mention of the matter on his U.S. Senate website either.
Sanders is hardly the only Democrat who has gone silent on the matter. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer’s spokesman Matt House has not responded to any request for comment, and it is unclear if Schumer has made any public statements. His official Twitter account has no mention of this matter, nor does his campaign Twitter account. His U.S. Senate website does include a statement applauding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for granting an emergency waiver to Jewish Community Centers to help track down the people responsible, a statement he released on Friday, but it does not include any reaction whatsoever to Thompson’s arrest.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill has also not responded to questions about whether Pelosi has condemned Thompson for his alleged anti-Semitism. Her Twitter account shows no Tweets about it and there is nothing on her website. The same goes for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)—whose spokeswoman Lacey Rose has not responded to a Breitbart News request for comment.
“We knew about this this morning and no Democrats have spoken out condemning this terrible human being. I find it shameful that there hasn’t been an outcry from the Democrats, many of whom have been accusing Trump of having inspired these anti-Semitic attacks,” Mort Klein, the president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA)—the oldest pro-Israel group in the United States, founded back in 1897—told Breitbart News in a phone interview. He went on:
Now we see it is a Trump hater who has perpetrated some of these acts showing at this point we have no evidence this was a Trump supporter—it was quite the opposite. With the arrest of this person, we see that this is not someone who was inspired by Trump towards hatred, towards committing these anti-semitic acts, it was actually someone who was antagonistic towards Trump inspired by President Trump’s adversaries. Just as the Democrats were demanding Trump respond to these attacks, which he has done in a very powerful and strong way, the Democrats should be condemning this supporter of the Democrats and hater of Trump. They should be responding of course, and condemning this man. I’ll tell you: It is painful to me to see the Democrats are silent at this point.
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, in announcing the charges against Thompson, confirmed the Twitter account in which he Tweeted nasty things about Trump and his support for Sanders was in fact Thompson’s account. Thompson was taken into custody by the FBI in St. Louis on Friday and is due to appear in court in Manhattan in New York City soon. “Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League,” Bharara said in his statement.
Interestingly, all of this came after Sanders attempted to tarnish President Trump and White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon—the former executive chairman of Breitbart News Network—with this string of anti-Semitic activities. Just days ago, Sanders told J Street that Trump and Bannon needed to condemn anti-Semitism—something they both have done very forcefully.
“I hope very much that President Trump and his political adviser Mr. Bannon understand that the entire world is watching, that it is imperative that their voices be loud and clear in condemning anti-Semitism,” Sanders said.
Klein, of ZOA, told Breitbart News that Sanders’ silence proves he does not care about doing the right thing and stopping anti-Semitism as much as he does about scoring political points. Klein said of Sanders’ and other Democrats’—specifically Warren’s, Pelosi’s and Schumer’s—silence:
It makes it clear that all their criticism of Trump is simply political partisanship, not a genuine concern about attacks on Jewish institutions and Jewish cemeteries. It makes it clear at this point that this may well be political partisanship as opposed to genuine concern about Jewish people and anti-Semitism. What it shows is they care more about gaining political benefits than they do about condemning anti-Semitism. This indicates they have a greater concern for what benefits them politically than they do about their concerns about anti-Semitism and Jew hatred. That’s the message it sends to me. It happened this morning. They should have responded already. It happened this morning. That’s plenty of time.
At this point, Klein said, it’s already too late for the Democrats to show they care, as they went after Bannon by falsely accusing him of being anti-Semitic with much more force than they have done about a Sanders-voting former reporter for The Intercept who was fired for printing fake news. In fact, their complete silence about Thompson proves everything is all political and not about stopping anti-Semitism, he says.
“I think the Democrats have now shown that they’re really embarrassed and horrified that this is a fellow Democrat who has enmity for Trump who committed these acts, as opposed to somebody who is supportive of Trump—which is what so many of them were saying,” Klein said. “Why aren’t they going after this unquestionable anti-Semite with the same type of viciousness they falsely accused of anti-Semitism, Steve Bannon?”