Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders faced mounting criticism after one of his surrogates lambasted "corporate Democratic whores" Wednesday night at a rally in New York.
"Medicare-for-all will never happen if we continue to elect corporate Democratic whores who are beholden to big pharma and the private insurance industry instead of us," Dr. Paul Song, a health care activist, said Wednesday, decrying the relationship between politicians and corporations.
Many who heard the comment thought it was a direct attack on Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, whom the Vermont senator has criticized often for her ties to Wall Street. But Song was quick to walk back his controversial comments.
"I am very sorry for using the term 'whore' to refer to some in congress who are beholden to corporations and not us," he tweeted not long after delivering his speech at the Washington Square Park rally. "It was insensitive."
I am very sorry for using the term "whore" to refer to some in congress who are beholden to corporations and not us. It was insensitive.— Paul Y. Song (@paulysong) April 14, 2016
However, that did not stop many in the Clinton camp from slamming both Song and Sanders for the bold comparison.
"Very distressing language to say the least," Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri tweeted early Wednesday evening. "@BernieSanders should disavow."
So Thursday morning, both Sanders and his wife, Jane, went to work to correct the record and distance the campaign from Song's comments.
"I'm sorry I didn't hear it at all — strange choice of words," Jane Sanders told CNN host Chris Cuomo Thursday morning. "I can't imagine that anybody was speaking about Secretary Clinton that way. I don't know who said that. All the campaigns really need to take some responsibility for what surrogates say."
Sanders himself also chimed in, sending out a tweet condemning the comments Thursday morning.
"Dr. Song's comment was inappropriate and insensitive," he posted. "There's no room for language like that in our political discourse."
Dr. Song's comment was inappropriate and insensitive. There's no room for language like that in our political discourse.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 14, 2016
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