KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — The Knoxville office of 2020 democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was vandalized overnight Thursday.
WVLT News Friday morning witnessed the front doors of the office painted with expletives and posters that featured the words "authoritarian," "classist" and "oligarch."
The posters featured what appeared to be snippets from news articles on Bloomberg in which he allegedly made derogatory statements about women and people of color in the past alongside words like "fascist," "sexist" and "racist."
Knoxville Police Department said they received a complaint saying the vandalism occurred at the Western Avenue office between 6 p.m. on Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday. There are no security cameras at the office and no witnesses have come forward.
KPD said they are investigating the incident. No suspects have been identified.
National Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey released a statement saying Bernie Sanders should condemn the vandalism.
"This latest incident at our Knoxville campaign office is exactly what we've been warning about. We don't know who is responsible for this vandalism, but we do know it echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters. Over the past week, we've seen similar attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in multiple states. Fortunately, no one has been injured. But this needs to end before someone gets hurt. We call on Bernie Sanders to immediately condemn these attacks and for his campaign to end the Trump-like rhetoric that is clearly encouraging his supporters to engage in behavior that has no place in our politics," said Sheekey.
"The kind of divisive and hateful rhetoric and action we are seeing from Bernie Sanders' supporters has no place in our politics," said Holly McCall, Tennessee's campaign representative. "Over the past week, we've seen similar attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in multiple states. Mike Bloomberg believes Democrats need to unite to defeat Donald Trump in November, and as president, he will bring our country together."
The campaign cited a quote from Bernie Sanders saying “We are a democracy, not an oligarchy. You’re not going to buy this election” at a rally on Monday as evidence along with several similar comments made by Sanders.
An Associated Press report shows that an incident with similar signs labeling the office with the word "oligarch" happened at a Youngstown, Ohio campaign office which had only been open for one day on February 14.
The campaign claims two other offices were vandalized including one in Toledo, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
According to AP, Bloomberg is focusing on states conducting primaries on Super Tuesday. Tennesseans will go to the polls on March 3 with voters in 12 other states.
Bloomberg recently came under fire at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas with other candidates hammering him on his record of enforcing a "stop and frisk" policy in New York, and about several non-disclosure agreements signed by women who worked for him in the past.
The Bernie Sanders campaign said they do not wish to comment.
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