First openly gay congressman savages Bernie Sanders: ‘He’s achieved very little’
Barney Frank, the first openly gay person elected to Congress, has hit out at Senator Bernie Sanders for comments made during his Presidential bid.
Mr Frank made history in 1987 when he publicly came out as gay – becoming the first member of Congress to do so voluntarily.
Despite a push to unseat him and a tabloid scandal over his former boyfriend, the Democrat was re-elected in 1990 and held his Massachusetts seat until stepping down in 2013.
In an interview with Slate, Frank criticised a faction of the Senator’s ultra-left wing supporters for insisting they won’t stand behind any other Democrat – which may hand the race to an anti-LGBT Republican.
He said:”I am disappointed by the voters who say, ‘OK I’m just going to show you how angry I am!’ And I’m particularly unimpressed with people who sat out the Congressional elections of 2010 and 2014 and then are angry at Democrats because we haven’t been able to produce public policies they like.
“They contributed to the public policy problems and now they are blaming other people for their own failure to vote, and then it’s like, ‘Oh look at this terrible system’, but it was their voting behaviour that brought it about.
When the interviewer observed “it seems like you’re saying Bernie’s voters have a slightly unrealistic sense about the political process”, Frank joked: “I didn’t say slightly.”
He continued: “Bernie Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years with little to show for it in terms of his accomplishments and that’s because of the role he stakes out.
“It is harder to get things done in the American political system than a lot of people realize, and what happens is they blame the people in office for the system. And that’s the same with the Tea Party.
“It’s ‘I voted for these Republicans, we have a Republican Congress, we voted for them, they took over Congress, they didn’t accomplish anything’.
“You gotta win at least two elections in a row.”
He also accused Senator Sanders of being “”outrageously McCarthyite” by attacking the former Secretary of State for having spoken at corporate Wall Street events.
He said: ” saw one commercial that said the big companies weren’t punished. Why? Well, maybe it’s because Hillary is getting speaking fees.
“So the secretary of state should have been indicting people? I mean, yes, McCarthyite in the sense that it’s guilt by association.
“He complains about what she did with regards to all this money stuff. Where’s the beef of that?
What Sanders basically says is, “They’re trying to bribe you.” Well what do they get for money? He shows nothing.
“There was this complaint, ‘Oh she had contributions from Wall Street’. So did Barack Obama. So does almost every Democrat because you can’t unilaterally disarm.”
Speaking about the Clinton campaign, he added: “I think it’s been good on the whole.
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“I think she should have admitted earlier she made a mistake on the emails.
“I am struck by the fact that with all these emails of hers getting out, there hasn’t been a single really embarrassing one. I’m pleasantly surprised by that.”
Elsewhere in the Slate interview, Frank said he was “troubled” by obituaries for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia glossing over his anti-LGBT history – given he even opposed the removal of sodomy laws banning gay sex.
He said: “I was troubled that his homophobia never got mentioned when he died.
“If he had been as comfortably prejudiced against African Americans, or women, or a lot of other groups, he would not have been considered such a wonderful person.
“He was a bigot. He expressed prejudice in his opinions.”