Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blamed the media at a press conference on Thursday morning for instigating and perpetuating the disagreement between himself and rival Hillary Clinton about their respective qualifications for the highest political office in America.
“So when, you have headlines in the Washington Post, ‘Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president,’ my response is well, you know, if you want to question my qualifications, let me suggest this,” Sanders said. “That maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications, Madam Secretary, when you voted for the war in Iraq, the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of America.”
The Washington Post article he referenced pulled together numerous interviews in which Clinton said Sanders was ill-prepared for an interview with the New York Daily News and questioned his commitment to the Democratic Party. In those interviews, Clinton didn’t explicitly say Sanders was unqualified for the presidency.
Sanders stressed that he was not willingly entering this “type of politics.”
“This is not the type of politics that I want to get in, I know it’s what the media loves,” Sanders said in reference to Clinton and Sanders trading barbs. “It is not the type of politics that I want to get in, but let me also be very clear. If Secretary Clinton thinks that I just come from the small state of Vermont, we are not used to this, we will get used to it fast.”
Sanders vowed that his campaign would not “get beaten up and lied about.” He later pivoted to saying voters should question Clinton’s qualifications after she raised “millions of dollars from Wall Street.”
“I don’t think I have to explain to the American people what Wall Street did to this economy,” Sanders said. “Are you qualified to be president of the U.S. when you’re raising millions of dollars from Wall Street, an entity whose greed, recklessly and illegal behavior helped destroy our economy?”
Sanders added he respects Clinton, though.
“What I just said is that she has attacked me for being unqualified. And if I am going to attack for being ‘unqualified’ I will respond in kind,” he said, adding he hopes to move away from personal attacks.