Radio host sorry for claiming Bernie Sanders has Israeli citizenship

Elizabeth Warren on 2016: Focus on families
Elizabeth Warren on 2016: Focus on families

A national radio host apologized Wednesday for using information from a Facebook post to falsely state that Sen. Bernie Sanders has dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship.

Diane Rehm, whose show on WAMU is distributed by NPR, admitted in a statement that the erroneous information came from social media.

"On today's show I made a mistake. Rather than asking senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders whether he had dual U.S./Israeli citizenship, as I had read in a comment on Facebook, I stated it as fact," Rehm said.

"He corrected me, saying he did not know where the question came from," she continued. "I apologized immediately."

Rehm's interview on Wednesday took an awkward turn when she said that Sanders has "dual citizenship with Israel." Sanders, who is Jewish, immediately took exception.

"Well, no, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel," Sanders said. "I don't know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No. I'm an American citizen, period."

bernie sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders

Rehm responded by indicating that she received information that said otherwise.

"I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list," she said. "Forgive me if that --"

"That's some of the nonsense that goes on in the Internet," Sanders said, cutting the host off. "But that is absolutely not true."

Rehm asked if any members of Congress do have dual citizenship, but Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont who is running a long-shot bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, made it clear that he was still thrown by the original question.

"You know, my dad came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket. He loved this country. I am, you know, I got offended a little bit by that comment, and I know it's been on the Internet. I am obviously an American citizen and I do not have any dual citizenship," he said.

A representative for the "Diane Rehm Show" told CNNMoney that it was a producer who spotted the false information on Facebook and included it in the host's prep material. But in her statement, Rehm accepted responsibility for the mistake.

"I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement," Rehm said. "However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest."

When reached for comment, Sanders' spokesperson Michael Briggs was magnanimous.

"Diane Rehm is an excellent radio host," he told CNNMoney in an email.


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