A campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reportedly got out of hand over the weekend — or, more precisely, got too “hands on.”
According to the Washington Examiner‘s Joseph Simonson, campaign staffer for the democratic socialist was involved in a “confrontation” with reporters during a press event hosted by the Des Moines Register following Sanders stump speech at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday.
“The confrontation erupted after members of the campaign relentlessly pushed the local journalists to make room for Sanders as he made his way to various attractions at the fair on Sunday,” Simonson reports. “…Security for the event, as well as members of Sanders’ campaign, repeatedly grabbed and shoved members of the press. One staffer for the Des Moines Register pushed a gate into a reporter for the Washington Examiner after telling him that ‘not all press’ would be allowed to follow Sanders around.”
Simonson describes the pool of reporters as having “erupted in chaos” over the staffer’s alleged overly aggressive handling of the press, particularly one female photographer who he reports was pushed “many times.”
“Do not put your hands on me,” the photographer said. “You keep pushing me.”
Simonson notes that the incident was significant enough that one of the other reporters felt compelled to make sure the female photographer was okay. Several journalists complained in the press office about the campaign’s treatment of the press, he reports.
While the Des Moines Register hosted the “chaotic” event, the outlet’s coverage of Sanders’ appearance doesn’t mention the confrontations or complaints, focusing instead on Sanders’ appeal to Iowans caucusogoers, who hold a prominent role in selecting the Democratic candidate. “Iowa caucusgoers in 2016 propelled Sanders to within a third of a percentage point of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s showing in the first-in-the-nation caucuses,” the paper points out.
Since getting so close to the nomination, Sanders suggested, the Democratic Party has moved in his more “radical and extreme” direction.
“When I came here four years ago, many of the ideas that I talked about, at that point, seemed very, very radical and kind of extreme,” said Sanders, the paper reports. “Well, it turned out they were not so radical or extreme for the people of Iowa.”
After accusing Trump of being racist, sexist, xenophobic liar, racist, a xenophobe, sexist, religious bigot and a pathological liar, Sanders urged Iowa Democrats to see the moment for what it is: their chance to “stand up to racism and divisiveness.”
“This is the moment history will judge us by,” he said. “This is the moment we stand up to racism and divisiveness. This is the moment we bring our people together and create an economy and a government not dominated by the billionaires, but an economy and a government that works for all of us.”
The Des Moines Register notes that the crowd that gathered for Sanders’ speech on Sunday “appeared comparable in number to the one U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts drew on Saturday.”
This article has been revised for clarity.