Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders didn’t directly answer questions on whether he would suspend his bid for Democratic nomination after losing primaries in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
The Vermont senator didn’t hold back and said his priority right now is ensuring that the lives of Americans are safe as the country continues to battle the coronavirus outbreak.
I love this song pic.twitter.com/uUqvkpAszT
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) March 19, 2020
“You have to stop with this. I’m dealing with a f—ing global crisis. You know? We’re dealing with it and you’re asking me these questions,” Sen. Sanders told CNN.
Lashing at the reporter Manu Raju for asking about his campaign at this sensitive time, Sen. Sanders further said: “Well right now I’m running. Right now I’m trying to do my best to make sure that we don’t have an economic meltdown and that people don’t die. Is that enough to you? To keep you busy for today?
I noted he's running for president, and he said: “Well right now, right now I'm trying to do my best to make sure that we don't have an economic meltdown and that people don't die. Is that enough for you to keep me busy for today?"
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 18, 2020
Then @LisaMascaro asked what he's saying to his supporters, and he sidestepped the question, noting he's sent out a statement. Then, I asked about his timeframe — and he was furious
Afterwards, he mellowed out and answered questions about the crisis for about two more minutes.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 18, 2020
The update came as Sen. Sanders’ campaign faced a major blow on March 17 as his only remaining major rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, swept some vital Democratic primaries — Florida (61.9% vs. 22.8%), Arizona (43.6% vs. 31.7%) and Illinois (59.1% vs. 36%).
Still No Word
The Sanders campaign earlier released a statement to his supporters noting how the presidential candidate was “losing the battle over electability” but has “won the battle of ideas.”
“No sugarcoating it, last night did not go as we wanted it,” Sen. Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said referring to the March 17 primaries results.
“And while our campaign has won the battle of ideas, we are losing the battle over electability to Joe Biden,” he added, relating the next steps for the Bernie Sanders campaign.
“First, Bernie will likely have a vote on the coronavirus in the Senate … then after this vote, Bernie and Jane are going to get on a plane back to Vermont … they’ll begin holding conversations with supporters to get input and assess the path forward for our campaign,”Shakir’s statement read.
In an email to supporters, Bernie Sanders' campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, says Sanders and his wife will fly to Burlington after today's likely coronavirus vote and "begin holding conversations with supporters to get input and assess the path forward for our campaign." pic.twitter.com/bCSllH5lhJ
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) March 18, 2020
After leading the Democratic race in the early primaries including Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Sen. Sanders campaign started to falter after former VP Biden scooped a decisive win in South Carolina — boosted by endorsements from other candidates who have dropped out of the race earlier.
Sen. Sanders, however, won the support of California on Super Tuesday. The state has the greatest number of delegates.
Sanders’ campaign also denied an Axios report claiming that the senator was abandoning his campaign after suspending its Facebook advertisements.
“The story was “absolutely false,” Sen. Sanders Campaign communications director, Mike Casca said on Twitter responding to the news.
Axios apologized for its false report and issued a correction separately:
“CORRECTION: Bernie Sanders has not decided to suspend campaign. Sanders has deactivated his Facebook ads,” it said.
Shakir said separately that the next primary contest is at least three weeks away.
“Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign,” he said.
On March 5, Sen. Sanders, himself did not drop any signs of whether he would pull out his campaign before the convention in July.
The Vermont senator only said Joe Biden will win against him if he ends up having more votes after the Democratic National Convention.
“If Biden walks into the convention or at the end of the process has more votes than me, he’s the winner,” Sen. Sanders told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
On March 11, he also assured his supporters that he’s not dropping out before the convention.