House Minority Whip Steve Scalise deftly shushed Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Twitter Thursday over Ellison’s ignorant tweet challenging the violent nature of the Sen. Bernie Sanders-supporting “Bernie Bros.”
“I have never seen @BernieSanders supporters being unusually mean or rude,” Ellison tweeted. “Can someone send me an example of a ‘Bernie Bro’ being bad. Also, are we holding all candidates responsible for the behavior of some of their supporters? Waiting to hear.”
Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, fired back, referring to his own personal experience with a Bernie Bro that left him with a severe bullet wound in his hip. “I can think of an example,” he said.
I can think of an example. https://t.co/KwuvyYgyGw
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 20, 2020
Perhaps the most infamous example of Bernie Bro violence occurred in 2017 in what became known as the congressional baseball shooting, wherein Scalise and three other victims were shot during a practice for the congressional charity baseball game. James T. Hodgkinson, who federal authorities identified as the shooter and who died in a shootout with police, was a staunch Bernie Sanders supporter and fit the Bernie Bro descriptor, which has come to encapsulate the segment of Sanders’ insufferable and intolerant far-left supporters, who are mostly young, white males apparently motivated at least in part by racism and sexism.
Hodgkinson’s ideology was clear from his Facebook account, where he had posted things such as “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co,” and “Republicans are the Taliban of the USA.”
The Twitter exchange between Ellison and Scalise comes after 2020 contender Michael Bloomberg tweeted a campaign video this week condemning the “energy” of the Bernie Bros. “We need to unite to defeat Trump in November. This type of ‘energy’ is not going to get us there,” Bloomberg said, while the accompanying video flashed Bernie Bro tweets with threats including, “Vote Bernie or bad things will happen,” and “We know where you live, where you work, where you eat. … You made a bad choice. Prepare for hell. Calls won’t stop.”
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 17, 2020
Bernie Bros also came up in conversation on “The View” this week, when co-host Meghan McCain confronted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who has campaigned for Sanders, asking what she thinks of the violent supporters.
“One thing that connects women on the left and women on the right … is the abuse that we have all been subjected to by Bernie Bros. It is by far, of anything I’ve ever done in my entire life, the most violent, the most misogynistic, the most sexist, the most harmful. … [Sanders] has a real problem. And I don’t think he’s doing enough to tamper it down,” McCain said. “How do you feel that he’s attached to this deeply misogynistic, and I would go so far to say violent, sector of people?”
“I think that to a certain extent we have to always reject hate, reject vitriol,” Ocasio-Cortez replied, before blaming anonymous Twitter users. “We also know the amount of anonymous activity that happens on the internet, and that simply is difficult, it is difficult to control.”
Sanders has sought to distance himself from the Bernie Bros, most recently this week in the Las Vegas Democratic debate after both Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg slammed Sanders, saying candidates bear responsibility for their violent supporters.
“If there are a few people who make ugly remarks … I disown those people, they are not part of our movement,” Sanders said.
According to RealClearPolitics’ latest aggregate of polls, Sanders is leading the pack of 2020 candidates nationally by 10 full points, at 27.8 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden trails behind him at 17.8 percent. In Nevada, where the next state caucuses will occur Feb. 22, Sanders is the front-runner at 30 percent, leading by 14 points over second-place Biden, who is polling at 16 percent.