Bernie Sanders's Rider Invokes a Vermont Senior Citizen's Dream: Freezing Hotel Rooms, Green Tea, Nuts

Illustration for article titled Bernie Sanders's Rider Invokes a Vermont Senior Citizen's Dream: Freezing Hotel Rooms, Green Tea, Nuts
Image: Sarah Silbiger (Getty Images)

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: Despite the New York Post’s claim that Senator Bernie Sanders’s comfort memo, which sets specifications for his travel, makes him a “demanding hotel guest whose requirements would make even the most pampered celebrity blush” is nonsense. Not when, say, Mariah Carrey’s backstage demands included a person whose only job was to dispose of her used gum.


But that doesn’t mean Sanders is devoid of particularities. The Post came to their (exaggerated) conclusion from an excerpt from Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats’ Campaigns to Defeat Trump, a book by The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere. In it, Sanders’s hotel specifications were revealed and they’re not so much demanding as they are... typical of the elderly and opinionated.

From the New York Post, emphasis ours:

According to Dovere, Sanders preferred suites with bathtubs and a king-size bed “which had to have a down comforter or another blanket in the closet. He preferred that the extra blanket be dark blue, and made of cotton.”

Sanders, 79, required that his room be kept at 60 degrees even if it meant opening a window in winter or manually overriding the hotel’s climate control system. Dovere recounts one incident on a trip to California when a hotel worker tried and failed to get the room to the required coolness.

“So, Chloe,” Dovere writes an “annoyed” Sanders told the employee. “You don’t want me to sleep tonight?”

The book adds that Sanders would preserve his man-of-the-people bona fides by turning down room upgrades, occasionally swapping with aides and telling them, “if there’s a bomb in there, it’s yours tonight.”

His comfort memo also required hotel rooms be stocked with green tea with honey, Gatorade, and assorted nuts.

Who doesn’t want a king-size bed or a fancy bathtub at a hotel (or assorted nuts for that matter)? And on the temperature front, while we can all hope that Sanders was polite to the hotel employee through his frustration... hot hotel rooms are uncomfortable. I, for one, am a big fan of cold-room-cozy-and-warm-and-snuggly-underneath-the-blankets, so I don’t blame Sanders for being picky. But 60 degrees? Sixty degrees of all-American degrees Fahrenheit? Now that’s just showing off.

We get it, Peepaw, you live in Vermont, you can wear a light jacket at inauguration and feel fine. You don’t have to prove yourself anymore, man. It’s okay.

The only truly controversial nugget in the excerpt was Sanders’s reluctant affinity for his chartered campaign plane, as opposed to taking regular shitty domestic flights like the rest of us mere mortals. Given Sanders’s concern about climate change, the preference is a bit of an ethical pickle. But even Sanders’s requirements on that front—“Couldn’t be too cramped. Couldn’t get too bumpy”—don’t exactly scream diva.


As someone who just took a cross-country flight from New York City to Los Angeles and was stuck in a middle seat, I, too, dream of non-cramped travel. But I can skip the private plane, I’ll settle for one day having the disposable income to fork over an extra $60 for additional legroom without dying a little inside.

Staff writer, mint chocolate hater.



As someone who knows the value of sleep and the impact sleep deprivation can have, I totally get where Bernie is coming from. Sleep is important and anything you can do when you travel to help you get good sleep is understandable.

Also this:

“So, Chloe,” Dovere writes an “annoyed” Sanders told the employee. “You don’t want me to sleep tonight?”

Sounds like a grandpa giving someone shit.