Bernie Sanders unveils list of 'anti-endorsements,' including Disney CEO and Home Depot co-founderJuly 10, 2019
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Bernie Sanders unveiled a list of 13 "anti-endorsements" on Wednesday, saying he is "proud" to be opposed by "modern-day oligarchs" including Disney CEO Bob Iger, billionaire Haim Saban, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone.
Others on the list were former Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam (who was called Sanders' views "contemptible"), former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt and former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (who has implied that Sanders' efforts could be "dangerous").
Conspicuously absent from the list was Rahm Emanuel, the former Chicago mayor, whom Sanders condemned during the 2016 presidential campaign.
"I want to thank Rahm Emanuel for not endorsing me," Sanders wrote at the time. "I don’t want the endorsement of a mayor shutting down schools and firing teachers."
Sanders' anti-endorsements were posted to his campaign website, and they began with a headlining quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made."
In an accompanying statement, Sanders threw in some fiery rhetoric of his own.
“You can tell who is truly fighting for working families by the enemies they make, and we've made a lot of enemies,” Sanders said. “We understand that nothing will fundamentally change for working Americans unless we have the guts to take on the most powerful corporate interests in this country. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that corporate CEOs and billionaires have united against our movement. These people have a vested interest in preserving the status quo so they can keep their grip on power and continue to exploit working people across America. We welcome their hatred.”
Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger was named to Sanders’ anti-endorsement list. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles)
"While Kenneth Langone has a net worth of $3.7 billion, Home Depot pays wages so low that many of its workers are forced to rely on food stamps, Medicaid and public housing subsidized by U.S. taxpayers," read one blurb on the anti-endorsement list. "Today, cashiers at Home Depot make as little as $9 an hour — the very definition of a starvation wage."
The blurb was accompanied by a sarcastic remark in which Langone, the Home Depot co-founder, referred to Sanders as "the antichrist."
Sanders, briefly the Democrat presidential frontrunner, has trailed former Vice President Joe Biden in fundraising and polling since Biden's entrance into the race.
In a related bit of business, Sander, Independent senator from Vermont, on Tuesday criticized liberal megadonor Tom Steyer's decision to throw his hat in the ring for the 2020 presidential election.
"I like Tom personally," Sanders told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "But I do have to say as somebody who in this campaign has received two million campaign contributions, averaging I believe $19 a person, I am a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power."
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Earlier this year, Sanders sparred with progressive activist groups that pointed out that he has since largely dropped his criticisms of "millionaires and billionaires," opting instead to single out "billionaires" only — ever since Sanders himself became a millionaire.
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Sanders has released tax returns showing that he and his wife paid a 26 percent effective tax rate on $561,293 in income, and made more than $1 million in both 2016 and 2017. Sanders donated only $10,600 to charity in 2016 and $36,300 in 2017, the records showed, followed by nearly $19,000 in 2018.
Those relatively minimal charitable contributions led critics in both parties to accuse Sanders of hypocrisy.
"People like Sanders … would have more credibility if they didn’t engage in such hypocritical practices, condemning the big, bad rich people whose greed they want to harness for their own allegedly benevolent bidding," Liz Wolfe wrote in The Federalist.
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