Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders shot down skepticism about his foreign policy expertise by boasting about speaking to many advisers on the subject, but one of his advisers just blew a hole in his answer by saying he has only met with Sanders once in recent months.
Sanders said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” he speaks with “many, many, many people” regarding foreign policy, declining to provide a list of names to host Jake Tapper. But Tapper didn’t give up easily, and after more prodding, Sanders finally gave a single name: Larry Korb.
Korb works at the Center for American Progress and told Politico Sanders only requested a meeting once. As he remembers it, the meeting took place in December. Korb added he is not involved in any campaign.
About six other foreign policy experts who have previously met with Sanders have also come forward. Half say in the past six months they’ve had at most one or two meetings with him. One of those experts said Sanders is “intelligent and informed but not deeply immersed in the subject matter.” Additionally, the expert also added Sanders’s foreign policy views are not at all settled and the campaign is still trying to firmly define certain positions.
Military issues have largely been neglected by Sanders, who has mostly focused on economics and inequality. This coverage gap has prompted Democratic candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to charge that Sanders is not competent enough to handle security challenges. Emblematic of Sanders’s poor foreign policy, according to the Clinton campaign, is his support of sending Iranian troops into Syria.
“That is like asking the arsonist to be the firefighter,” Clinton said, according to CNN. “The challenges a president has to grapple with are beyond complicated but at home and abroad. That is why is it is the hardest job.”
The Sanders campaign has said that in almost every speech, “we talk about foreign policy,” and in response has pointed to Clinton’s support of the Iraq War as indicative of poor judgment.
“The major foreign-policy issue in the modern history of this country was the war in Iraq. I voted against the war in Iraq; she voted for the war in Iraq,” Sanders told Foreign Policy.
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Photo by Gage Skidmore