A key official of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) 2016 presidential campaign is accused of forcibly kissing a young female staffer during the Democrat National Convention, according to Politico.
Robert Becker, who managed Sanders’ Iowa campaign, alleged to have told the unidentified female staffer in her 20s that he wanted to have sex with her, making a reference about riding his “pole,” three other individuals who say they witnessed the incident or were told about it moments later by those who saw it. Later that evening, Becker is said to have abruptly grabbed the woman’s wrists and forcibly kissed her, shoving his tongue in her mouth.
In a statement to Politico, the woman said candidates who hire political operatives with temperaments like Robert Becker for leadership positions “shouldn’t earn the highest office in our government.”
“It just really sucks because no one ever held him accountable and he kept pushing and pushing and seeing how much he could get away with,” she continued. “This can’t happen in 2020. You can’t run for President of the United States unless you acknowledge that every campaign demands a safe work environment for every employee and volunteer.”
In response to the Politico’s report, Friends of Bernie Sanders — the far-left lawmaker’s 2018 Senate campaign committee — called the allegations against Becker “deplorable and fundamentally unacceptable” and said he would not be part of “future campaigns.”
Becker, who was in his late 40s at the time of the alleged incident, denies any wrongdoing.
“I categorically deny these allegations of improper and unprofessional conduct,” a statement via Becker reads. The alleged account is “at odds with my recollection of a late evening filled with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what’s next,” he added.
The fresh allegations come after a group of former Sanders 2016 campaign staffers wrote a letter to the Vermont senator and his top aides demanding a discussion about “sexual violence and harassment” they allege occurred inside the candidate’s campaign, a letter obtained by Politico reads.
“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,” more than two dozen male and female Sanders alumni wrote.
The letter’s organizers told Politico that they “did not intend for the letter to become public,” stating the purpose of the proposed meeting is to discuss how to “mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle.”
Last week, a New York Times report stated nearly a dozen Sanders 2016 alums alleged the campaign failed to properly address their sexual harassment claims.
Pressed on the Times reportage in an interview last Wednesday, Sanders admitted to CNN host Anderson Cooper that the claims were not handled as “effectively as possible.”
“I am not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right in terms of human resources, in terms of addressing the needs that I am hearing from now that women felt disrespected, that there was sexual harassment, which was not dealt with as effectively as possible,” the potential 2020 candidate said.