Sanders Promised Civility but Hired Twitter Attack Dog
Screenshots taken before the mass Twitter deletion preserve the role that Sirota was playing to his 125,000 followers, trying to turn the early online conversation about the 2020 primary race against other candidates, all while unofficially advising Sanders.
He’s accused Harris of giving in to big donors and changing her stance on health care, and questioned how she will defend and define being “tough on crime.” He responded to Booker getting into the race by reminding people of the New Jersey senator’s defense of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s former company, in 2012, and a 2017 vote favored by the pharmaceutical industry that has become a big target for Sanders and his supporters.
Sirota has repeatedly attacked Bennet, his home-state senator from Colorado, over his management of the Denver school system, which he has said is “now ripped apart by chaos.” He has also attacked Hickenlooper, the former Colorado governor and a current Democratic presidential candidate, for the poor state of Colorado’s roads. He has criticized both Bennet and Hickenlooper for not responding in what he thought would have been the appropriate way during a teachers’ strike in Denver.
Responding to an NBC News op-ed in January calling Biden “the Democrats’ best chance to beat Trump,” Sirota highlighted that the author used to work for the American Legislative Exchange Council, and wrote that Biden “was just endorsed” by a former spokesperson for “the group that pushes right-wing legislation in state capitals across the country.”
Reacting to a CNBC article about Gillibrand’s outreach to big donors, he wrote at the beginning of February, “Welcome to the oligarchy,” and attacked her for the time she spent at a law firm with the tobacco company Philip Morris as a client. In another tweet, he mocked her for endorsing Representative Joe Crowley last year in his losing primary campaign against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
He also knocked Bloomberg for how much of his fortune he spent on a presidential campaign, and for his “allegedly awesome climate policies,” which he contrasted by pointing out the former mayor’s support for responsible fracking.
Asked if these attacks align with the pledge for a clean and positive campaign that Sanders has made, Shakir said, “I can only promise and pledge the manner in which he is going to work on this campaign is consistent with those values.”
He said that he is sure Sirota is apologetic. “All I can say is, going forward, he is very much a team player,” Shakir said.
Meanwhile, before officially joining the Sanders campaign a little more than a week ago, Sirota promoted meetings of the campaign and the Sanders-aligned Our Revolution group.
Among the few people in the 2020 conversation whom he has said positive things about: Jay Inslee and Bill de Blasio. Both have appeared on his podcast.