A top aide to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE’s (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign forcibly kissed a female staffer during the Democratic National Convention in 2016, the staffer has alleged, Politico reported late Wednesday.
The unidentified woman and three other people who reportedly either witnessed or learned of the incident told Politico that Robert Becker told the woman that he wanted to have sex with her and referred to riding his “pole,” according to Politico.
Becker later approached the woman, grabbed her wrists and forcibly kissed her, putting his tongue in her mouth, the woman and other sources told Politico.
The woman, who was in her 20s, never reported the incident because it occurred at the end of the campaign, Politico reported.
She told Politico that “candidates who allow people like Robert Becker to lead their organizations shouldn’t earn the highest office in our government.”
“It just really sucks because no one ever held him accountable and he kept pushing and pushing and seeing how much he could get away with,” she added. “This can’t happen in 2020. You can’t run for President of the United States unless you acknowledge that every campaign demands a safe work environment for every employee and volunteer.”
Friends of Bernie Sanders, the campaign committee for Sanders, told Politico in a statement that Becker won’t be part of “any future campaigns” and called his behavior “deplorable and fundamentally unacceptable.”
The report comes after The New York Times reported last week that nearly a dozen women who worked for the campaign said they were harassed and that their claims were handled improperly.
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Sanders, who is viewed as a possible frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2020, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week that sexual harassment during his campaign “was not dealt with as effectively as possible.”
“I am not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right in terms of human resources, in terms of addressing the needs that I am hearing from now that women felt disrespected, that there was sexual harassment, which was not dealt with as effectively as possible,” Sanders said.
Sanders added that he was not aware during the campaign of harassment allegations against his aides.
Jeff Weaver, who served as Sanders’s campaign manager in 2016, told CNN on Wednesday that he won’t serve as campaign manager for Sanders if he runs again in 2020.