Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer is siding with independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in his fight with the Center for American Progress (CAP).
Steyer, who has donated millions of dollars to CAP and sits on the organization’s board of directors, promised to have Sanders’ back.
“Over the last 16 years, the Center for American Progress has done irreplaceable work advancing progressive policies and causes, but progressives policies and causes, but progressive organizations should not be in the business of tearing down progressive candidates,” Steyer said in a statement. “Our vast, qualified, and diverse field represent the best of America and have brought much needed and new energy to our political system.”
“I will use my voice on the Center for American Progress’ Board of Directors to discourage any such attacks on any candidate seeking the Democratic nomination,” Steyer continued.
NEW: @TomSteyer, a multi-million $ donor to @AmProg, is not pleased about @thinkprogress‘ video critiquing @BernieSanders: “I will use my voice on CAP’s Board of Directors to discourage any such attacks on any candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in the future.” pic.twitter.com/4WfA7yuMj4
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) April 15, 2019
The tension between the Democratic front-runner and the Democratic political establishment reached a fever pitch this weekend when the Sanders’ campaign provided a letter to CNN ripping CAP, and its leaders by name. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders’ 2020 Campaign Responds To Allege FEC Violation By Calling Trump A Racist)
“Center for American Progress leader Neera Tanden repeatedly calls for unity while simultaneously maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas,” Sanders said. “I and other Democratic candidates are running campaigns based on principles and ideas and not engaging in mudslinging or personal attacks on each other. Meanwhile, the Center for American Progress is using its resources to smear Senator Booker, Senator Warren, and myself, among others. This is hardly the way to build unity, or to win the general election.”
Neera Tanden is currently the head of CAP, which has long been maligned by some left-wingers for its support of establishment political figures. The founder of CAP is John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager in 2016.
Clinton and Sanders engaged in a heated presidential primary in 2016, and comments from former Clinton staffers since Sanders’ announced his 2020 campaign have shown that old wounds have not healed. (RELATED: Hillary Adviser Brags After Poking Fun At McConnell Disability)
Former Clinton adviser Philippe Reines claimed the media was demonstrating a double standard with its Sanders coverage after the senator launched his campaign in February, pointing out that Clinton is six years younger and had already defeated Trump in the “popular vote.” Former Clinton communications director Jess McIntosh slammed Sanders for saying that race and gender shouldn’t determine who wins the 2016 Democratic nomination.
“This is usually an argument made by people who don’t enjoy outsized respect and credibility because of their race, gender, age and sexual orientation,” McIntosh said. ““If Bernie is going to start this contest telling us he’s at a disadvantage as a white man it is going to be a LONG year.”
Former Clinton rapid response director Zac Petkanas accused Sanders of making “zealous attacks” against Clinton. Several other Clinton advisers, including Karen Finney slammed Sanders, and continue to do so today.
Clinton herself warned candidates to promote a specific “vision” during an interview Friday, but did not indicate whom she might support among the many Democrats running for president.