Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appeared in the post-debate press room following Thursday night's second 2020 Democratic primary debate in Miami. He should get kudos for doing so, considering Joe Biden didn't bother to face the bulbs. But, hold the applause, because it turns out that Sanders only answered questions he liked.
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams had turned the attention to his colleague, Andrea Mitchell, as she was interviewing Sanders, and the senator was chatting her up about his plan to fix income inequality and racial inequality. When Mitchell posed a more direct follow-up question, he went mum.
"Is Biden still the frontrunner" after Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) challenged him about praising his old segregationist colleagues and gave a personal explanation about school busing, Mitchell asked. Onstage last night Harris accused Biden of previously voting against busing.
"I am not going to speculate on that," Sanders tersely replied. "All I know is that we are running hard."
He added that if he prevails in the primary, he is "absolutely confident that we're going to defeat Donald Trump."
That's nice, but that wasn't the question.
Perhaps hoping to avoid the uncomfortable spotlight that Harris put Biden under last night, Sanders walked away from Mitchell to another group of reporters to talk about illegal immigration. Mitchell stuck to his side and listened in, particularly when Sanders insisted lawmakers need to "open up our hearts" to the children who are being placed in detention centers on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Well, Mitchell had a quick inquiry about that too. If that's true, she wondered, then why did House Democrats go along with the Republican-led Senate's immigration bill and Nancy Pelosi "lose her caucus?"
He didn't answer.
"I am preoccupied with other things today," Sanders said dismissively.
The legislation Mitchell's talking about passed by a vote of 305-to-102 Thursday. It will direct more money into the agencies, like the Health and Human Services Department, that have been overwhelmed by the border crisis. House Democrats wanted to pass a more partisan version of the measure that included restrictions on how the Trump administration could spend the money related to the detention centers, but Pelosi helped shut down that effort. (Take a look at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-NY) Twitter page if you want to know how progressives felt about that.)
Sen. Sanders, you're eventually going to have to answer these questions.
Catch our recap of last night's Democratic debate here.