— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 2, 2016
In a Twitter post Wednesday, Bernie Sanders, America’s typically most well-mannered presidential candidate, inadvertently carried on a longstanding American tradition of offending people in other countries. This time, Romania was so honored.
Sanders, in a critique of America’s slow consumer Internet services, and as a call to action to better the nation’s digital infrastructure, tweeted that even people in Bucharest, Romania, have faster Internet.
Thousands of miles away, Romanians took offense to having their connectivity compared to that of Americans’, with responses ranging from hurt to mockery.
— Claudia Ciobanu (@Claudia_Warsaw) March 3, 2016
One Twitter user posted that it sounded as if Sanders thought Americans were "entitled to being better than everyone else," calling this form of exceptionalism "very disrespectful."
Another user fashioned a new campaign poster for Sanders, who is still trailing the front-runner Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton: "Make America’s Internet speed great again: Invade Romania!"
— Florin Bora (@Florin_Bora) March 3, 2016
Others expressed disquiet about the "unacceptable and must change" part, using dark humor to suggest that, rather than advancing their own Internet infrastructure, America may opt for a shortcut by engaging in targeted drone strikes against Romania’s Internet.
A travel agency, Paravion.ro joined the mix, offering Sanders free airline tickets to the country saying, "come over and experience our great Internet. You can tweet unlimited."
Some Romanians, however, had a simple solution to Sanders’ unintended slight, offering to send Romanian IT engineers to the US to troubleshoot its Internet, if, in response, Americans would simplify their visa requirements.
Romanian Twitter users noted the presidential candidate had insulted over 3 million people living in Bucharest. But others in the country disagreed, observing that all of Romania’s broadband service, not just the urban centers, is faster than that of the US.