A photograph showing Sen. Bernie Sanders flying first class went viral on Friday, sparking a debate over whether the Vermont Democrat is living out the socialist ideals he regularly espouses.
Republican operative Chris Carr shared the photo to Twitter last week and claimed Sanders was the first to board the first class flight. The tweet was retweeted more than 6,000 times and garnered 16,000 likes.
“Socialism has been good to @BernieSanders,” Carr said in the tweet.
Let them eat cake…
— Guy ?? (@GuyBaker) July 7, 2019
Many apparent Sanders’ supporters responded in the comments to Carr’s tweets. They defended the veteran lawmaker known for railing against the “1 percent” and characterized the supposed “gotcha” moment as a nothing-burger.
“People who criticize Bernie Sanders for riding an airplane honestly have no idea what socialism is lmao,” wrote one commenter, whose username, “Berntrooper,” hinted at pro-Bernie sympathies.
“I too fly first-class. And if I were on a flight with him I would gladly give up my seat to @BernieSanders as his work is more valuable than any other presidential candidate of my life time, as he works tirelessly for 99% of us,” tweeted HuffPost blogger and family medicine expert Dr. Victoria Dooley.
Conservative Twitter users didn’t see it the same way. For them, Sanders’ enjoyment of elite class perks was an example of rank hypocrisy.
This is actually how socialism works tho. Political elite get the perks.
— Mickey Finn (@MightyFinn) July 8, 2019
“How many more first class flights does he have to take before people realize he’s a snake oil salesman?” tweeted one commenter.
Do as I say, not as I do.
— Bobacheck (@Bobacheck) July 7, 2019
“Bernie’s style of socialism – do as I say, not as I do. He wants to be king and the rest of us paupers,” wrote another.
Bernie Sanders, millionaire
This isn’t the first time critics have questioned whether the outspoken champion of the underclass is paying mere lip service to his ideals. Earlier this year, filings made by Sanders’ campaign showed he became a millionaire in 2016, thus joining the elite “1 percent” he so often lambasts.
His defenders argue that there’s nothing ideologically incoherent about him being both a democratic socialist and a wealthy man. But Sanders’ rhetoric, in which he so often paints the divide between wealthy Americans and everyone else as an “us versus them” scenario, is likely to be seized upon by detractors.
They find it odd, to say the least, for a man with a burgeoning $2 million net worth and three-homes to be lecturing Americans on the excesses of wealth.
How many yachts do billionaires need? How many cars do they need? Give us a break. You can't have it all.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 21, 2017
WATCH: Conservative Assaulted by Angry ‘Leftist’ on UC Berkeley Campus