House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that she would be comfortable with Senator Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for president despite hesitation among some lawmakers in her party.
“Yes,” Pelosi responded as she left a closed-door meeting in the House when asked whether she would be comfortable with the self-described democratic socialist leading the ticket.
“I think whoever our nominee is, we will enthusiastically embrace and we will win the White House, the Senate and the House,” the California congresswoman added.
A day earlier, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer indicated he too would be comfortable with Sanders as the party’s nominee.
“We have a lot of strong nominees,” Schumer said. “I’m not supporting one over the other, but I think every one of them will beat President Trump.”
Sanders this week sought to fend off bipartisan flack over comments he made praising aspects of the regime of late Cuban Communist leader Fidel Castro.
In the 1980s, Sanders claimed that part of the reason the Cuban people did not help the U.S. overthrow Castro’s regime was that the authoritarian leader provided them with health care and education.
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but, you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders said Sunday on CBS when confronted with his decades-old comments. He went on to praise Castro’s “massive literacy program,” saying, “Is that a bad thing even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Sanders doubled down during Tuesday’s Democratic debate, even invoking remarks by former president Barack Obama in 2016 commending the regime’s education and healthcare systems.
“I’m hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro,” said Representative Donna Shalala, a Florida Democrat.
Sanders currently holds a hefty lead over the pack of Democratic 2020 contenders, polling at 29.2 percent nationally, well over the 18 percent support enjoyed by former vice president Joe Biden, who led the field for months last year.
The progressive independent tied with former South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses and went on to win the New Hampshire primary and Nevada caucuses earlier this month.