Feb 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden: Sanders must disassociate himself from attacks on union leaders

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden addresses the crowd during a South Carolina campaign launch party on February 11

Joe Biden during a South Carolina campaign launch party, Feb. 11, Columbia, South Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden told NBC's "Meet the Press" in an interview airing Sunday his 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders needs to do more to address "misogynistic" online threats to leaders of the Nevada Culinary Workers Union.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come ahead of Nevada's caucuses next Saturday. The union, representing some 60,000 workers, is the most influential in the state. Its leaders announced last Thursday it would not endorse any Democratic candidate.

Catch up quick: Sanders' supporters "responded angrily this month after the union distributed fliers criticizing his health care plan," the New York Times reports.

  • The union issued a statement last Wednesday from Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union, saying, "It’s disappointing Senator Sanders’ supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families in Nevada."

What they're saying: "You know me well enough to know if any of my supporters did that, I’d disown them. Flat disown them," Biden told NBC's Chuck Todd. "The stuff that was said online. The way they threatened these two women who are leaders in that Culinary union. It is outrageous. Just — just go online."

  • Sanders said in a statement to news outlets last Thursday, "Harassment of all forms is unacceptable to me, and we urge supporters of all campaigns not to engage in bullying or ugly personal attacks."

Of note: The latest Morning Consult national poll shows Biden's electability has dropped, with 17% saying he's the candidate most likely to beat President Trump. Sanders leads with the backing of 29% of those surveyed.

Go deeper: Poll: Joe Biden loses status as most electable Democrat

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from the interview and context.

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