Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) over the weekend laid the blame for President Donald Trump's election victory on the Democratic Party, and one of Hillary Clinton's former campaign officials has taken issue with that judgment.
"I am often asked by the media and others, ‘How did it come about that Donald Trump, the most unpopular presidential candidate in the modern history of our country, won the election?'" Sanders told progressive activists on Saturday. "My answer is that Trump didn't win the election; the Democratic Party lost the election."
Asked about Sanders' criticism, former Hillary Clinton spokeswoman and senior adviser Karen Finney challenged his credibility as someone who is not a member of the Democratic Party.
"Bernie is certainly welcome to his opinion, and I know the bros are going to get all whipped up on Twitter when I say this, but he's not a Democrat," Finney said on CNN. "So, while he has every right to his opinion, I don't take his opinion."
Finney did not mention Clinton, instead defending the Democratic Party’s grassroots workers.
"As someone who has actually done the work as part of the Democratic Party, made phone calls, knocked on doors, and, you know, every time when he attacks the party, one of the things that I take issue with, he is attacking those rank-and-file people who do the work day-in and day-out, local elections, statewide elections," Finney said.
Finney came closest to naming her former boss when she said the focus on the 2016 presidential election ignores the work done at lower levels.
"We're not just talking about a presidential election, and we're talking about people who volunteer their time for this party because they care about it," Finney said.
She then turned the topic of discussion to the investigation into potential ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia.
"I think our country is facing a much greater challenge when you look at a president who has a propensity to lie and not tell the truth, and we're looking at the possibility of potential collusion with a foreign government that is hostile to this country," Finney said.
"It is a far more serious issue than, you know, what Bernie Sanders does or doesn't say about the Democratic Party," she added.
Still, Finney reiterated that Sanders is not a member of the Democratic Party. When CNN's Poppy Harlow pointed out that Sanders received millions of Democratic votes in the party's primary, Finney interrupted.
"Then [Sanders] went back to being an independent," she said as the segment ended.