Former Secretary of State John Kerry vehemently denied a report claiming he was overheard discussing a possible 2020 bid to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Democrat, who has openly endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, shot down the clams in a tweet on Sunday and reiterated to a reporter that he was “absolutely not” thinking about running for president to block Sanders from the nomination, NBC News reported.
An NBC News analyst heard Kerry on the phone at a Des Moines hotel on Sunday, just ahead of Monday’s pivotal Iowa caucuses, allegedly discussing his options in light of “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole.”
“Maybe I’m f—ing deluding myself here,” Kerry allegedly said on the call, according to the NBC News source who overheard him in the lobby restaurant of the Renaissance Savery hotel. Kerry reportedly lamented that, in order to jump into the 2020 race, he would have to relinquish his position on the board of Bank of America and would be unable to deliver paid speeches.
The report claimed Kerry, the failed Democratic nominee in 2004, also noted that venture capitalist Doug Hickey and other donors would have to “raise a couple of million,” adding that they “now have the reality of Bernie.”
Kerry flatly denied that he was considering joining the Democratic primary race when asked about the call later and he took to Twitter to emphasize his position.
As I told the reporter, I am absolutely not running for President. Any report otherwise is categorically false. I’ve been proud to campaign with my good friend Joe Biden, who is going to win the nomination, beat Trump, and make an outstanding president.
— John Kerry (@JohnKerry) February 2, 2020
Originally tweeting that “any report otherwise is f—ing (or categorically) false,” Kerry quickly deleted the tweet and reposted another, dropping the expletive.
Why’d you delete this tweet? pic.twitter.com/I8kXWwQeEW
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 2, 2020
According to NBC News:
It’s not clear how serious Kerry was on the call about jumping into the race. But that he would even discuss the possibility suggests that prominent members of the Democratic Party remain deeply unsettled by the current field, Sanders’ strength in the polls and the ability of any candidate to defeat President Donald Trump.
It also suggests that Kerry, who has campaigned with Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire, may be nervous about the former vice president’s chances ahead of Monday’s first-in-the-nation primary caucuses.
“This is a complete and total misinterpretation based on overhearing only one side of a phone conversation,” Kerry later told NBC News.
“A friend who watches too much cable called me wondering whether I’d ever jump into the race late in the game if Democrats were choosing an unelectable nominee. I listed all the reasons I could not possibly do that and would not — and will not under any circumstances — do that,” he added.
Biden’s team did not express any concerns publicly.
“Everyone knows that John Kerry is all in for us,” senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders said.
The drama unfolded just days after Democratic National Committee’s rule change angered members of the party who saw it as a deliberate move to make a way for Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg to qualify to take the stage for the next party debate.
Michael Moore’s furious rant: Racist DNC ‘disgusting’ for letting Bloomberg buy his way on stage, shunning ‘diverse’ candidates https://t.co/oEVLIWlyXe
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 1, 2020
Kerry’s Sunday phone call, which he did not deny occurred, just seemed to add more division to the establishment Democratic Party.
“I don’t know who needs to hear this,” Des Moines Register reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel tweeted, “but the lobby of the Renaissance Savery in Des Moines the day before the Iowa caucuses is *not* the place to have private conversations,”
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