Wednesday’s Nevada debate is still hours away, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Michael Bloombergs’ campaigns are already exchanging blows.
During an appearance on CNN Wednesday morning, Sanders press secretary Briahna Joy Gray was asked whether Americans deserve to know more about the Vermont senator’s health following a heart attack late last year. Sanders said during a CNN town hall the night before that he has no plans to release further medical records.
Gray responded that “the American people deserve to know exactly as much as every other candidate has released in this race currently and historically” before characterizing the scrutiny surrounding Sanders’ health as a “kind of smear, kind of skepticism campaign.”
Gray then went on to argue that “it’s really telling” that Bloomberg hasn’t received the same kind of scrutiny though he “has suffered heart attacks in the past.”
That’s not true. Though Bloomberg has undergone a procedure to place two stents in a coronary artery, he has not had a heart attack.
Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey told TPM in a statement that Sanders’ campaign is “spreading an absolute lie” that’s “completely false.” Bloomberg’s campaign also pointed TPM to a letter released in December by his doctor saying that he’s “in outstanding health” and “great physical shape.”
“The truth is: After a positive stress test in his doctor’s office at Johns Hopkins University in 2000, Mike had two coronary stents placed,” Sheekey said in the statement. “He quickly told the FAA, consistent with the rules for any pilot, and this information has been public for years. The Bloomberg 2020 campaign released more information about his outstanding health soon after he entered the race.”
Later Wednesday morning, Gray walked back her claim in a tweet.
I mispoke when I said Bloomberg had a heart attack. Rather, he underwent the same stent procedure as Bernie. Bernie released 3 detailed medical reports in December — just like the other candidates.
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) February 19, 2020
Sheekey added that Sanders’ campaign staff is now “spreading lies” about Bloomberg, and noted that Sanders did not publicly reveal his October heart attack for days.
Watch Sanders’ press secretary’s remarks below:
Sanders press secretary claims Bloomberg has "suffered heart attacks" pic.twitter.com/5JiqTccBvU
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) February 19, 2020