Bernie Sanders apologises for alleged harassment by male staff during 2016 campaign

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Over two dozen 2016 campaign staff alumni wrote a letter seeking a meeting with Sanders to "discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the objective of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle". And I thank them from the bottom of my heart for speaking out. However, to the women who were allegedly harassed, he said that "what they experienced was absolutely unacceptable and certainly not what a progressive campaign, or any campaign, should be about".

"Yes, I was a little bit busy running around the country trynna make the case", he said when asked if he had missed the harassment on his campaign. "Our standards and safeguards were inadequate".

"Robert Becker, who directed Sanders" Iowa campaign and served as deputy national field director, is alleged to have approached a female staffer at a Philadelphia bar where members of the campaign had gathered, Politico reports.

Becker denies the allegation.

"I am very proud of the 2016 presidential campaign we ran, and of the staff and volunteers who made our successes possible", Sanders said in the statement posted to Twitter.

Allegations of sexual misconduct and an "untenable and risky dynamic that developed during [the Sanders] campaign" have dogged the Vermont senator in recent weeks, according to Politico.

The reports of harassment are raising questions about whether Sanders can launch a second presidential campaign.

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Sanders has not personally been the focus of any of the accusations.

In a Tweet early Thursday afternoon, Sanders issued an apology.

"I was little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case", Sanders told CNN on January 2.

"To be clear: No one who committed sexual harassment in 2016 would be back if there were a 2020 campaign", the group added. Add Bernie Sanders as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Bernie Sanders news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Over two dozen Sanders alumni signed the letter, in which they noted a culture of what they called toxic masculinity was common throughout the campaign world, Politico reported.

NBC's Chuck Todd excoriated one of the most popular frontrunners for the Democratic nomination to run against President Donald Trump in 2020, and said it was the worst start to a possible campaign.

Sanders has been on defense since the New York Times reported that several women on his 2016 campaign reported episodes of sexual harassment, demeaning treatment, and pay disparity. Though the allegations against Sanders' campaign are far-reaching, the issue of sexual harassment has been pervasive across the political spectrum and beyond, as brought to light in the wake of the Me Too movement.

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