Bernie Sanders and a New York Times reporter engaged in a frosty back-and-forth Monday, after she asked him whether it’s “sexist” of him not to concede to Hillary Clinton at this point in the race.
The exchange took place at a press conference in Emeryville, California, between Sanders and the NYT’s Yamiche Alcindor. Excruciatingly awkward video from Politico shows that Sanders and Alcindor first clashed over whether it was her turn to ask a question:
“Excuse me,” he says five times, as she tries to speak.
“I’m asking a question,” she shoots back.
“Other hands are up as well,” he tells her, attempting to call on someone named Jeff.
Alcindor’s question, when she was permitted to talk: “What do you say to women who say that you staying in the race is sexist, because you’re standing in the way of what could be the first female president?”
“Is that a serious question?” Sanders asked, laugh-scoffing. Alcindor said it was, and he replied: “That any woman who is running for president — anyone who imposes—your question implies that any woman who is running for president is, by definition, the best candidate. Any woman who runs? To say that it is sexist—so if Hillary Clinton runs for president, is your point, that it is sexist for any man to oppose her?”
“No,” Alcindor responded. “My point is that if she has more delegates than you tomorrow, for you to stay in the race, is it sexist?”
“I don’t think it’s sexist,” Sanders replied. “I think the issue is, first of all, our focus right now is running and winning right here in California. And the second point that I have made is that it is absolutely imperative that we defeat Donald Trump as a candidate for president of the United States. I believe I am the stronger candidate.”
Alcindor called Sanders’ response to her question “testy.”
It seems like a stretch to conclude that Sanders staying in the race is inherently sexist. Stubborn? Yes. Mathematically very unlikely and actually impossible if he loses California? Yes. Sexist? Hardly, except maybe if he were staying in the race while loudly shouting that a woman is unfit to be president.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton noted in an NPR interview that tomorrow will make eight years to the day that she conceded to then-Senator Barack Obama.
Surely the response online to Alcindor’s question will be measured and intelligent though.