Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) came under heavy criticism this week after being one of only two senators to vote against this quarter’s batch of new sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and Russia.*
For example, former Clinton aide Adam Parkhomenko lashed out at Sanders on Twitter: “Feel the Bern? Bernie Sanders voted against Russian sanctions today. 98 Senators voted for Russian sanctions today. Sanders voted the same way anyone with the last name Trump would vote if they were in the Senate. No excuses ― stop making them for him.”
Oddly, Sanders apparently agreed with Parkhomenko that his supporters shouldn’t be making excuses for him. So he decided to make the excuses personally, by reassuring Democrats and progressives that his vote had nothing to do with principle.
“Make no mistake. I did not vote against the sanctions because sanctions have a terrible track record of changing policy or because they often culminate in a military conflict where thousands of innocent people die,” Sanders clarified. “Like you, I still believe that ratcheting up tensions with Russia and North Korea is the right solution, and look, who really cares if some innocent Russians or North Koreans die?”
“But Iran is a different story,” Sanders continued. “This is one of the only foreign policy conflicts that President Obama actually improved. These new sanctions threaten the Iran Deal and Obama’s ill-begotten reputation as an advocate for peace. We must defend both. Thank you.”
*This is a satirical post. While the vote discussed is real and the quote from Parkhomenko is legitimate, Sanders’ statement is embellished a bit. We’d argue the subtext is the same, however. You can read his actual statement here.