Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has repeatedly refused to explain to the media why he skipped a crucial vote on coronavirus relief in the Senate Sunday night and instead held a virtual town hall for his flailing presidential campaign.
On Monday, the democratic socialist even went so far as to dodge the question by asking a reporter to "stay away" from him in accordance with CDC guidelines on social distancing.
What are the details?
Last week, Sanders lashed out a reporter for asking about the future of his presidential campaign, saying that he was "dealing with a f***ing crisis" and that he was working to prevent an "economic meltdown" amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
But that led to further questions from the press, after Sanders appeared to prioritize his campaign over taking action on the pandemic when he opted to hold a virtual town hall on Sunday night rather than appear in the Senate to vote on moving forward with the third phase of a stimulus package aimed at helping Americans and businesses ravaged by the crisis.
According to CNN, a reporter on Monday asked Sanders "to explain how his absence from the Senate was consistent with his efforts to address the crisis," and the senator responded by accusing the reporter of getting "too close to him."
"Stay away from me," Sanders reportedly said. "There's a CDC requirement. Please follow it."
Via @tedbarrettcnn on the Hill w/ @BernieSanders: when asked to explain how his absence from the Senate was consist… https://t.co/PKYtD08P7A— Annie Grayer (@Annie Grayer)1584990966.0
When pressed further by a CNN reporter on why he skipped the vote, Sanders still refused to answer the question, saying, "The most important thing that anybody can do and that the progressive movement can do is to make sure that working people get the protection that they need."
Sanders added, "I'm going to use every tool that I have to make sure that that happened."
“I'm going to use every tool that I have to make sure that that happened," he said, seeming to reference the campai… https://t.co/tmgqk9nKvz— Manu Raju (@Manu Raju)1584992155.0
According to Fox News, during Sanders' livestream on Sunday night, the senator took the time to slam the package proposed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after bipartisan discussions.
"It is hard for me to believe that in the midst of this terrible crisis that we have a Senate Republican bill that would give the Trump administration a blank check to hand out corporate welfare to virtually any corporation in America, without conditions as to how they can protect workers in this country," Sanders told his supporters.
Senate Democrats were able to block the coronavirus relief package proposed on Sunday, and then blocked it again on Monday while pressing for unrelated agenda items such as setting new emissions standards for the airline industry.
While Republicans hold a majority in the upper chamber, five GOP senators are quarantined at home and unable to vote due to either testing positive for COVID-19 or coming into contact with someone infected.