Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) on Friday invoked President Donald Trump’s name multiple times in response to a question about what advice he can give progressive leaders who have a tough time condemning noted anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.
Several House Democrats have come under fire in the last week for their association with Farrakhan, including Democratic National Committee vice chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), who recently earned a “Four Pinocchios” rating from the Washington Post Fact Checker concerning his interactions with the controversial Nation of Islam leader.
Sanders sat down with CNN’s Jake Tapper at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, where they discussed several issues.
Farrakhan delivered his annual Saviours’ Day address late last month in Chicago, Illinois, where he attacked “that Satanic Jew,” called Jews “the mother and father of apartheid,” and proclaimed that “when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.”
“For people who are progressive and are concerned about what they might perceive as tolerance for the kind of bigoted views against Jews, against women, against LGBTQ that you hear from Minister Farrakhan, what is your message to the progressive leaders who have difficulty condemning him?” Tapper asked.
Sanders responded to the question by talking about how he is working day and night to stop Trump’s “reactionary agenda and his war against the middle class and working families, the support of the billionaire class.” He went on to compare Trump to previous presidents and said that they understood the importance of bringing people together unlike Trump.
“My most perhaps strongest and most emotional opposition to Trump is that he is working day and night to try to divide us up based on the color of our skin or where we came from, so I am taking on Trump and will take on anybody, Louis Farakhan or anybody else,” Sanders said.
“This country, anti-Semitism is not acceptable. Homophobia is not acceptable. Racism is not acceptable. Religious bigotry against Muslims or Jews or anybody else is not acceptable,” Sanders added.
Sanders then started reflecting on the history of America, pointing out the injustices that Native Americans, slaves, and women have had to face.
“We, as a nation, have got to do everything that we can to fight anybody, whether it is Trump, Farrakhan, or anybody else who is trying to divide us up. We are strongest when we stand together, when we fight for working families, when we fight for an agenda that works for all of us, not just the people on top,” Sanders said.
The exchange can be viewed in the video above starting at 29:58.