WASHINGTON — Sen. Michael Bennet feels “terrible” his brother James, the editorial page editor of the New York Times, recused himself from the paper’s opinion coverage of the 2020 election because of Bennet’s run for president, he said Wednesday. Bennet said he talked with his brother about it for months before announcing his candidacy.
“He was unenthusiastic about the prospect of my running,” Bennet said on BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM.
Bennet said this consequence of his run was “not the best thing that ever happened,” but that the decision to move his brother made sense, and that he still has other things he can work on. “I don’t think that he’s secretly hoping that I’ll drop out, but you never know,” Bennet said.
Bennet said in the interview that he hopes to set himself apart from the other candidates in the primary because of his experience, specifically as a superintendent of Denver schools before joining the Senate. “So many children in America are denied a basic education just because of their zip code,” Bennet said. He said the education system that reinforces income inequality is a “massive problem” that other candidates don’t talk about enough.
Bennet also said his ten years in the Senate have given him enough time to learn how to get things done, and why the most important things are not getting done. “Washington will never fix itself,” Bennet said.
Bennet released a book Wednesday entitled “Dividing America: How Russia Hacked Social Media and Democracy.” He told AM to DM that Americans didn’t recognize the Russian propaganda during the last presidential election for what it was.
“They attacked our democracy in 2016, they used some of the most vile propaganda that I’ve seen. It meant to divide us along racial lines … they don’t care about the issues, they just want to exploit division,” Bennet said. He said the attackers saw diversity in America as a weakness.
He said exploiting diversity is also how Donald Trump got elected. “I think we need a president who thinks their job, every day, is to unite the country,” he said, and he is trying to make the White House “competent” again.
Bennet compared the current administration to a car accident on the freeway that no one can take their eyes away from. “We have done nothing but waste their time during this presidency,” he said referring to the low-income people and people of color he encountered as superintendent, “they’re counting on us to do that work.”