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Michael Bennet Joked His New York Times Editor Brother Was “Unenthusiastic” About His Presidential Bid

“I don’t think that he’s secretly hoping that I’ll drop out, but you never know,” he said.

Last updated on August 14, 2019, at 5:38 p.m. ET

Posted on August 14, 2019, at 2:04 p.m. ET

Taylor Miller for BuzzFeed News

WASHINGTON — Sen. Michael Bennet teased that he feels "terrible" that 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 joked on BuzzFeed News’ Twitter morning show, AM to DM.

Bennet said this consequence of his run was “not the best thing that ever happened,” and that his brother's decision made sense. “He's got lots of other things he can work on. ... I don’t think that he’s secretly hoping that I’ll drop out, but you never know,” he added.

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 that an education system that reinforces income inequality is a “massive problem” that other candidates don’t talk about enough.

Bennet also said his 10 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 titled 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 the United States as a weakness.

"What does it say about us, that we didn't recognize it as propaganda, we just thought it was our ordinary political discourse?" – @MichaelBennet on Russia's interference in the 2016 election

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.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.