Bernie Sanders criticised for private plane travel during 2016 election by Hillary Clinton aides

The Clinton campaign paid for chartered planes for other surrogates during the 2016 campaign as well, including for Jay-Z and Beyoncé

Clark Mindock
New York
Monday 25 February 2019 20:38
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Former aides to Hillary Clinton have criticised Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for his use of private planes wile acting as a surrogate to their former boss during the 2016 campaign, and his apparent continued reliance on the form of transportation since.

Mr Sanders, who is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination in 2020, reportedly requested private jets during the 2016 campaign to act as a surrogate, to the point that it became a point of contention. Meanwhile, several high profile surrogates to the Clinton campaign were also the beneficiaries of private plane travel, including Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

Representatives for Mr Sanders have indicated that the private travel was necessary in order to make sure the Vermont senator could attend all of the events he was asked to attend for Ms Clinton.

“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 DC 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,” Zac Petkanas, the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign, told Politico in a report detailing the private plane criticism.

Since that 2016 election travel, Mr Sanders has reportedly spent at least $342,000 on private flights.

“The requests for a charter only came after the schedules were put in front of us. If a less rigorous schedule were put in front of us, we wouldn’t have needed a charter and that would have been fine for everyone involved, including Bernie,” Rania Bertrice, Mr Sanders’s former deputy campaign manager, said.

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The Sanders 2020 campaign has indicated the senator plans on using commercial air travel as much as possible during the primaries, but that chartered planes may be used if schedules require that form of travel.

In response to the criticism of Mr Sanders, Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to Barack Obama, called the attacks "petty".

"This is unfair and petty. It's pretty standard for a surrogate like Sanders to get a private plane so they can campaign more places, more quickly," Mr Pfeiffer, a co-host of the podcast Pod Save America, wrote on Twitter.

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