Bloomberg campaign deletes tweets containing fake quotes of Sanders praising despotism

The Bloomberg campaign said the now-deleted tweets were meant to be satirical

By Julia Conley
February 26, 2020 9:00AM (UTC)
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Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a democratic presidential candidate, prepares to speak during the U.S Conference of Mayors 88th Winter Meeting at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

This article originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign came under fire after posting a series of now-deleted tweets that included fake quotes of 2020 Democratic frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders praising authoritarianism.

As Common Dreams reported, Sanders' comments praising former Cuban President Fidel Castro for literacy programs in the island nation echoed remarks made about the Cuban leader by former President Barack Obama just four years ago. Both Sanders and Obama denounced authoritarian rule in Cuba while acknowledging the Castro government oversaw major advances in its education and universal healthcare systems, leading to better health outcomes for Cubans.

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Bloomberg's campaign, however, compared Sanders' remarks to made-up statements attributed to the Vermont senator about former Ugandan President Idi Amin, Soviet leader Josef Stalin, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and others.

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The Bloomberg campaign deleted the tweets and said they were meant to be satirical, but The Guardian reported that some social media users said the campaign had not made clear that the quotes weren't real when they posted them using the hashtag #BernieOnDespots.

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Sanders' press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, called the tweets a "string of intentional outright lies."

David Sirota, a speechwriter for the senator, slammed Bloomberg's team over the tweets — which, he noted, followed complaints from Bloomberg about the online "toxicity" allegedly supported by Sanders' campaign.

The tweets were posted three days after Twitter announced it was suspending 70 accounts that have posted identical messages in support of Bloomberg in recent weeks.

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The Bloomberg campaign has also been ridiculed for hiring people to post messages on social media in favor of the former mayor, paying them $2,500 per month — a tactic which UCLA professor Tim Groeling told the Los Angeles Times "signified his lack of organic grassroots support."


Julia Conley

Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

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2020 Campaigns 2020 Elections Bernie Sanders Common Dreams Fidel Castro Media Michael Bloomberg Politics