Bernie Sanders urged Democrats on Friday to present a united front against the fossil fuel industry’s “greed and corruption," apparently taking a jab at Joe Biden, who had just one day earlier rubbed shoulders with a natural gas company co-founder.
The left-leaning Vermont senator issued the veiled Biden dig in a statement purporting to target “Democratic think tanks like Third Way and the Progressive Policy Institute,” whom he rebuked for accepting political contributions from fossil fuel companies.
“The Democratic Party must be holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for helping to destroy the planet, not collecting campaign contributions and other donations from them,” Sanders said. “We are not going to be able to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and towards energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy, if powerful political forces within the Democratic Party continue to accept their contributions.”
He added, "Now is the time for everyone associated with the Democratic Party to say to fossil fuel contributions...Now is the time to take on the greed and corruption of the fossil fuel industry for knowingly destroying the environment.”
While Sanders’ statement didn’t call out Biden by name, its timing was unmistakable.
On Thursday night, Biden attended a ritzy fundraiser on Manhattan’s Upper West Side co-hosted by Andrew Goldman, the co-founder of Texas-based natural gas producer Western LNG.
While Goldman is still listed on Western’s website as part of its “leadership” team, Biden’s campaign maintains the businessman shouldn’t be considered a fossil fuel executive because he has stepped down from his “day-to-day” oversight of the gas drilling company.
But Biden’s camp has not addressed Goldman’s dual role as the co-founder of a capital management firm that invests in “natural resources and resources," according to Western’s website.
Nonetheless, Biden insisted at the Thursday night big-money shindig that he’s committed to rejecting fossil fuel cash.
"I just want to be very clear to everyone here: I am committed to not raising money from fossil fuel executives and I am not doing that tonight,” Biden said. “Climate change presents an existential threat, and it is real.”
A spokesman for Biden’s campaign did not return a request for a response to Sanders’ statement on Friday evening.