Mike Bloomberg is blaming Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the vandalism that occurred at one of his campaign offices in Tennessee, claiming the Vermont septuagenarian’s rhetoric encourages such behavior.
Kevin Sheekey, the former New York City mayor’s campaign manager, released a statement on Friday blasting Sanders after Bloomberg’s campaign headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, was defaced over night. The perpetrators spray painted derogatory insults on the campaign office’s doors and hung posters juxtaposing terms—like”sexist,” “oligarch,” fascist,” and “racist”—alongside snippets from articles highlighting Bloomberg’s controversial history on race and sexual harassment.
Sheekey said on Friday:
We don’t know who is responsible for this vandalism, but we do know it echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters. Over the past week, we’ve seen similar attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in multiple states.
Sheekey proceeded to urge Sanders to step forward and rein in not only his own rhetoric, but also the behavior of his supporters before “before someone gets hurt.”
“We call on Bernie Sanders to immediately condemn these attacks and for his campaign to end the Trump-like rhetoric that is clearly encouraging his supporters to engage in behavior that has no place in our politics,” Bloomberg’s campaign manager said.
The flareup over vandalism comes as the race for the 2020 Democrat nomination appears increasingly likely to be a head-to-head contest between the former mayor and Sanders. Since announcing his candidacy in December, Bloomberg has catapulted to running neck-and-neck with Sanders in national polls, thanks to having spent more than $400 million on campaign ads.
Bloomberg’s rise in the polls has been met with fierce denunciations from Sanders, who has not shied away from suggesting the former mayor is trying to buy the Democrat nomination and the White House as well.
“Today, we say to Mayor Bloomberg, we are a democracy, not an oligarchy,” Sanders told a crowd in Tacoma, Washington, earlier this month. “You are not going to buy this election.”