16:51 GMT +323 July 2019
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    Senator Bernie Sanders looks on after the Vermont delegation cast their votes during roll call on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016

    Sanders Apologizes to 2016 Campaign Workers Who Say They Faced Sexual Harassment

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    The Vermont senator said he didn’t tackle the issues in time because he was “a bit busy running around the country.”

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who ran for president seeking the Democratic Party's nomination in 2016, apologized Wednesday to women who claimed they were sexually harassed during their time at his campaign.

    Talking in an interview to CNN, Sanders said he didn't know about the sexual harassment and pay disparity allegations at the time.

    The allegations surfaced Wednesday in a New York Times article. Former campaign staffers told the newspaper that the campaign didn't treat incidents of sexual harassment, sexist mistreatment and payment disparities between men and women adequately.

    Sanders apologized to "any woman who feels like she was not treated appropriately."

    When the host asked if he was aware of the complaints at the time they were made, Sander replied that he was "little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case [to be elected as president]."

    "I am not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right in terms of human resources, in terms of addressing the needs that I'm hearing from now: that women felt they were disrespected, that there was sexual harassment which was not dealt with as effectively as possible," Sanders said on CNN. 

    He continued by saying that the campaign will do better if he decides to run again in 2020. Sanders pointed out that his Senate re-election campaign already established new protocols for tackling sexual harassment allegations.

    "We put forward the strongest set of principles in terms of mandatory training, in terms of women, if they felt harassed, having an independent firm that they can go to," Sanders said. "And I think that that's kind of the gold standard of what we should be doing."

    During 2016 US presidential election, Sanders, who has served as an independent in the Senate, ran for president as a Democrat, but eventually lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton, who lost the presidency to Republican Donald Trump.

    Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks showed that the committee sought to weaken Sanders' campaign as part of a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign. 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has said the DNC "rigged" the primary against Sanders to aid Clinton's prospects.

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