Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) campaign press secretary has had to walk back two false claims about 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg in two days — after wrongly saying he had a heart attack and had been accused of sexual assault.
Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ national press secretary, said during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday morning that questioning Sanders’ fitness for office and not Bloomberg’s was unfair because, according to her, he “had suffered heart attacks in the past.”
Gray was originally asked by network anchor John Berman why her candidate had said that he would not be releasing any more medical records, despite having a heart attack that briefly took him off the campaign trail last October.
“It’s really telling given that none of the same concern is being demonstrated for Michael Bloomberg, who’s the same age as Bernie Sanders, who has suffered heart attacks in the past,” Gray said.
The 78-year-old billionaire businessman, who is the same age as Sanders, has never suffered a heart attack, his campaign confirmed in a statement.
“The truth is: After a positive stress test in his doctor’s office at Johns Hopkins University in 2000, Mike had two coronary stents placed. . . The Bloomberg 2020 campaign released more information about his outstanding health soon after he entered the race,” campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said.
“Here’s what we know about Sen. Sanders: In October 2019, he had a medical incident in Las Vegas. He didn’t tell the public for days and the full details have never been released. Now his campaign staff is spreading lies about Mike Bloomberg,” he added.
Shortly after her CNN appearance, Gray tweeted a slight correction to her original statement.
“I mispoke [sic] when I said Bloomberg had a heart attack. Rather, he underwent the same stent procedure as Bernie. Bernie released 3 detailed medical reports in December — just like the other candidates,” she wrote.
Gray’s tweet marks the second day in a row that the campaign press secretary was forced to walk back her words about the billionaire former NYC mayor.
On Tuesday afternoon, Gray falsely claimed that Bloomberg had faced 64 sexual assault allegations during a different appearance on CNN.
After being asked by anchor Brianna Keilar if she and the campaign were going to go after Bloomberg for his company’s alleged record of sexual harassment by employees of his, Gray responded that “when it comes to these issues of sexual harassment There have been 64 sexual assault allegations leveraged against Michael Bloomberg.”
After that appearance, the former Jill Stein voter and current Sanders staffer issued a slight retraction to her original proclamation.
“I misspoke and I am more than happy to correct it. It’s 64 sexual harassment allegations,” Gray tweeted.
During Sanders’ 2016 campaign, numerous women came forward to report instances of sexual harassment they experienced while working for the Vermont senator’s team. Those individuals came forward after the 2016 election, as Sanders was planning for his 2020 campaign.
“During 2016 there were a number of HR actions taken, and while it is not appropriate to discuss them individually, actions taken ranged from employee counseling to immediate termination from the campaign,” Sanders’ team said in a statement in January of last year.
When confronted that same month about allegations of harassment on his previous campaign, Sanders said, “I certainly apologize to any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately, and…we will do better next time.”
Spokespeople for Sanders’ and Bloomberg’s campaigns did not immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment.
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