Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell had a testy exchange Wednesday after Mitchell complained Sanders was potentially helping Donald Trump with his attacks on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Sanders retorted that they were all running for president of the United States, and he told Mitchell not to "moan to me about Hillary Clinton's problems."
Mitchell appeared to be echoing the concerns of many Democratic establishment figures that Sanders' insistence on staying in the Democratic race is only helping Trump, who has effectively wrapped up the Republican nomination. Sanders won West Virginia Tuesday night for his 19th primary win, but it is practically impossible for him to clinch the Democratic nomination.
"She is now fighting a war on two fronts," Mitchell said of Clinton. "She's getting beaten up by Donald Trump on a daily basis. Aside from him calling you Crazy Bernie in his tweet, he has been embracing you ... He likes the fact that you're taking her down. So she's fighting Donald Trump. She's fighting Bernie Sanders, and that's depressing her overall—"
Sanders began to interrupt while Mitchell was still talking.
"One second, one second, one second," Sanders said. "Andrea, I don't accept that proposition. Last I heard, Hillary Clinton is running for president of the United States. I am running for president of the United States. Trump is running for president of the United States, and what a candidate does is make his or her best case to the American people.
"I have gotten attacked and attacked and attacked. My record has been misinterpreted and lied about. The issue of this campaign is to go out to the American people and talk about why the American people are struggling."
Mitchell cut in again to express concern about Trump's personal attacks on Clinton while largely leaving Sanders alone.
"Up until now at least, he has not been going after you as much," Mitchell said. "She's fighting two candidates and you're fighting one."
"Oh, really? Really," Sanders said, laughing mirthlessly. "In every state that we have won, in 19 states, we have had to take on the entire Democratic establishment. We've had to take on senators and governors and mayors and members of Congress. That's what we have taken on, so please do not moan to me about Hillary Clinton's problems."
Mitchell appeared to sigh, although she wasn't on-screen when Sanders said that.
"I'm in this race to win," he said. "We're taking on the Democratic establishment. We are standing up for working people, and we have a shot. It is a steep hill to climb, but we're going to fight for every last vote that we can get, every delegate that we can get, and that's what I intend to do in the next month, five weeks."
"Well, I don't think I was moaning about Hillary Clinton's problem, to point out," Mitchell said, before moving on to another topic.