Former Vice President Joe Biden accepted an apology from Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday after a campaign surrogate for the Vermont senator penned an op-ed accusing Biden of having “a corruption problem.”
Sanders said he disagreed with the op-ed, saying, “It is absolutely not my view that Joe is corrupt in any way. And I’m sorry that that op-ed appeared,” in an interview with CBS News.
The op-ed, which was published in the Guardian by law professor and former New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, argued that if Biden wins the Democratic presidential nomination, it will be more difficult for the party to defeat President Donald Trump.
“Biden has a big corruption problem and it makes him a weak candidate,” wrote Teachout, who has officially endorsed Sanders. “I know it seems crazy, but a lot of the voters we need – independents and people who might stay home – will look at Biden and Trump and say: ‘They’re all dirty.'”
Teachout wrote that Biden’s policy proposals cave to the interests of big industries that bankroll his campaign. She accused him of policies favoring Wall Street donors, the health care insurance industry and the fossil fuel industry.
“It looks like ‘Middle Class’ Joe has perfected the art of taking big contributions, then representing his corporate donors at the cost of middle- and working-class Americans,” she wrote.
Sanders previously endorsed and campaigned for Teachout in a 2016 congressional race, and also endorsed her campaign for New York attorney general in 2018.
“Zephyr is doing a great job for us, she’s a wonderful surrogate, but on this issue, I strongly disagree,” Sanders said.
“Thanks for acknowledging this, Bernie,” Biden tweeted of Sanders’ apology. “These kinds of attacks have no place in this primary. Let’s all keep our focus on making Donald Trump a one-term president.”
Sanders recently made headlines for allegedly telling Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also a Democratic presidential candidate, that he didn’t believe a woman could defeat Trump for the White House. Sanders has denied the allegation, but the claim caused tension for the two on the debate stage last week.
Biden and Sanders have also sparred in recent weeks over Biden’s record of voting for the war in Iraq. And Biden accused the Sanders campaign of sharing a ‘doctored’ video that misrepresented his position on Social Security.
Biden accused the Sanders campaign of lying about his position on Monday, according to Vice News.
Sanders told CBS that Biden “is a decent person. He is a friend of mine.”
“People like him. And we’re not going to make personal attacks on Joe Biden but I think the record shows that Joe’s history in the Senate and my history in Congress are very different,” Sanders said.
Biden and Sanders have been front runners in the Democratic primary, with Biden consistently in the lead in national polling. Biden currently stands at an average of 28.4% and Sanders at 20.4%, according to poll data compiled by RealClearPolitics.