Bernie Sanders does not like fancy-schmancy things. He isn't a huge fan of gazillionaires, tuxedos or any of the highfalutin trappings of society's economic ills. This, of course, made him a hero among the country's growing socialist movement. So when news came that the former presidential candidate bought a $575,000 vacation home for his family, the hypocrisy police were ready to pounce in all caps.
The Sanders family's "new waterfront crib has four bedrooms and 500 feet of Lake Champlain beachfront," according to the Vermont newspaper Seven Days, which broke the news on Monday. Sanders's spokesman, Michael Briggs, told us the home is 1,800 square feet (hardly a mansion). Jane O'Meara Sanders, the senator's wife, said she had "always hoped" to buy a home in the area, which has more of a country village vibe than Hamptons feel.
Just a 40-minute drive from Burlington, "the islands" - local lingo for the chain of bridge-connected islands that dot Lake Champlain, the sixth largest in the country - are a popular New England summer and fall destination with sparkling views of the Adirondack Mountains. They boast 200 miles of shoreline, scenic bike paths and birdwatching.
It all sounds like a pretty nice and not at all over-the-top getaway for the Sanders clan, which includes Sanders's son from a previous relationship, his wife's three children from her first marriage, their spouses and seven grandkids. In her statement to Seven Days, Jane Sanders even added the extra tidbit (probably anticipating the criticism) that the sale of her own family's vacation home in Maine precipitated the purchase of the Lake Champlain house.
But Bernie-files and Bern-outs alike soon cried foul on social media and in headlines about the senator's third home (the Sanderses also have homes in Washington and Burlington) because apparently socialism and diversified real estate portfolios don't mix. There are several sub Reddit threads dedicated to the senator's real estate news.
For his part, Sanders has yet to respond to the criticism and calls for donor refunds. He's probably too busy writing his forthcoming book. "Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In" is set to hit bookshelves on Nov. 15.