Sen. Kennedy On Joe Biden’s Speech: Might Be Nominee, But ‘Bernie Sanders Is The Head’

(Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Lousiana Sen. John Kennedy criticized 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Friday, the day after he accepted the Democratic nomination for president, saying Biden is not the real leader of the party.

Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Kennedy said Democratic Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are the real leaders who have moved the Democratic party to the left. The comments came less than 24 hours after Biden gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“Joe Biden may be the party’s nominee, but Bernie Sanders is the head. Senator Sanders with a lot of assistance from Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has moved the party substantially to the left,” Kennedy said.

In early August, Kennedy criticized Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris after she was selected to be Biden’s running mate, again mentioning Ocasio-Cortez.

Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, pauses while speaking to members of the media after a briefing on Iran by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In an interview with Fox News, Kennedy compared Harris to Ocasio-Cortez, saying that Harris was smarter than Ocasio-Cortez but did not have the “bartending experience.” Ocasio-Cortez was a bartender before running for Congress. (RELATED: Sen. Kennedy Weighs In On Kamala Harris: Ocasio-Cortez ‘Without The Bartending Experience’)

“Kamala is my colleague so I want to congratulate her. I think she is very personable. She’s very smart, she’s very aggressive and she’s very liberal. I think of Kamala, I would describe her as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez but smarter and without the bartending experience,” Kennedy said.

Biden and Harris both greeted voters Thursday night in Delaware after Biden gave his acceptance speech.