You might think it’s not too big of an ask to see comprehensive medical records from Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 78-year-old potential president who suffered from a heart attack just months ago, especially as he promised “full disclosure” of his medical history in an interview last year.
But, not only has he failed to fulfill that promise so far, his campaign team is now condemning people for requesting that information—and appearing to invent medical problems for rival Democratic candidates.
In an interview with CNN’s New Day on Wednesday morning, the campaign’s national press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, compared requests for Sanders’ full medical records to the birtherism attacks volleyed at former President Barack Obama. She also claimed that fellow candidate Mike Bloomberg has suffered from “heart attacks” in the past—although she later said in a tweet that she “misspoke” after it was pointed out that there was no evidence for that.
While Bloomberg has released medical information confirming he underwent coronary-stents placement back in 2000 for a blocked artery, and that he has an irregular heartbeat, that is not the same as a heart attack. Bloomberg’s adviser Tim O’Brien called Gray’s claim a “Trumpy lie” and confirmed that his boss has never experienced a heart attack.
Asked by CNN if people deserve to know more about Sanders’ health, Gray said, “I think the American people deserve to know exactly as much as every other candidate has released in this race currently and historically. What you’re seeing right now is really reminiscent of some of the smear and skepticism campaigns that have been run against a lot of different candidates in the past, questioning where they’re from and aspects of their lineage.”
The press secretary went on: “It’s really telling, given that none of the same concern is being demonstrated for Michael Bloomberg, who’s the same age as Bernie Sanders and has suffered heart attacks in the past.”
O’Brien from the Bloomberg campaign responded angrily to the heart attack claim on Twitter: “Mike Bloomberg has *never* had a heart attack. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has had a heart attack. Those are the facts. It’s a dangerous time when Sanders goes all in with Trumpism.”
Gray later clarified: “I misspoke when I said Bloomberg had a heart attack. Rather, he underwent the same stent procedure as Bernie. Bernie released 3 detailed medical reports in December—just like the other candidates.”
Gray’s rejection of the idea of releasing full medical records comes the day after Sanders was asked about it. He told CNN that his campaign had already released three letters about his health, and said he’s “comfortable” with the level of information released. He also said, if anyone has concerns about his health, they should join him on the campaign and “I’ll let you introduce me to the three or four rallies a day that we do.”
Sanders was rushed to a hospital after suffering a heart attack in October 2019 following a Las Vegas fundraiser. He remained hospitalized for two days and then returned home to recover, before he went back to the campaign trail about two weeks after the incident.
In an interview with CNN last October, he said, “The people do have a right to know about the health of a senator, somebody who’s running for president of the United States—full disclosure.”