Former Secretary of State John Kerry was reportedly overheard on a phone call discussing what he would need to do to enter the Democratic presidential primary race as he expressed concern about “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole.”
NBC News political analyst Jonathan Allen tweeted on Sunday that he heard Kerry’s comments in the lobby restaurant of the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Maybe I’m f—ing deluding myself here,” the former Obama administration official said. He went on to explain that if he were to run, he’d have to give up making paid speeches and step down from the board of directors for Bank of America.
Kerry also said that donors like venture capitalist Doug Hickey would have to “raise a couple of million,” for him to jump in the race, adding that they “now have the reality of Bernie.”
Overheard (by me) in Iowa, John Kerry discussed possible 2020 run and concern over Sanders https://t.co/Tc0XxIXEuc
— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) February 2, 2020
Biden still holds the lead nationally by 3.7 percent in the RCP average.
NBC reached out to Kerry about the call later on Sunday, asking if he was contemplating jumping into the presidential race.
“Absolutely not,” was his response.
As the story grew, Kerry tweeted (and then deleted), “As I told the reporter, I am absolutely not running for President. Any report otherwise is f—ing (or 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.”
The 76-year-old posted a second tweet with the expletive removed.
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
Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer told Fox News on Monday, “What’s really getting lost because [Kerry] used an explicative is the part about Bernie.”
“He said Bernie is he going to destroy the Democratic Party, take the party down in whole,” Fleischer continued. “That’s what people should keep their eye on, this growing fissure in the Democratic Party and if Bernie wins here in Iowa or Bernie wins in New Hampshire, that fissure grows deep.”
Watch @AriFleischer on John Kerry saying Bernie Sanders will destroy the Dems: “There’s a growing fissure in the Democratic party and if Bernie wins in Iowa or New Hampshire that fissure grows deeper.” pic.twitter.com/FiV0dtcwaS
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) February 3, 2020
Fleischer further argued that if Sanders, who hails from Vermont, “opens up 2 and 0, you have mass panic inside the Democratic Party and it’s a real grassroots sign of what the future of the Democratic Party is.”
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