Bernie Sanders: 'We have a president who is a racist'

Bernie Sanders: 'We have a president who is a racist'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE (I-Vt.) on Wednesday lashed out at President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE in a speech, calling the president "racist" and "bigoted," echoing language he used during campaign events earlier this year.

Speaking to the National Action Network, a nonprofit group founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, the Vermont progressive received applause from the group's members for his condemnation of the president.

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"But we must be honest and straight-forward and say that we have a president who is a racist," Sanders, who is thought to be a likely 2020 presidential contender, said. "A president who is a sexist. A president who is a homophobe. A president who is a xenophobe and a president who is a religious bigot. And it gives me no joy to tell you that. But that is the simple truth and we've got to confront that truth."

The senator went on to link Trump's remarks to historic racial and misogynistic discrimination, while not referring to any of the specific remarks made by the president.

"I don't have to tell anybody in this room, least of all in this room, the history of discrimination that this country has experienced going way, way back before slavery," Sanders says. "When the settlers came and did terrible things to the Native Americans and the discrimination against women — 100 years ago women did not have the right to vote."

"And the religious bigotry we've seen ... That's part of our history," Sanders continues. "And if we are saying to Donald Trump today ... Mr. Trump, we are not going backwards, we are going forward."

The president has faced criticism in recent months for his comments aimed at black lawmakers and journalists after he labeled California Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersSenators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency at hearing Democrat Sherrod Brown torches Facebook at hearing: They 'broke journalism,' 'helped incite a genocide' House Democrats mull bill to ban Facebook cryptocurrency project MORE (D) a "low-IQ individual" at a campaign rally and made similar remarks about a black female CNN journalist. He also lashed out at White House reporter April Ryan and PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor.

The remarks earned Trump condemnation from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) earlier this month, which said in a statement that it was "appalled" by the president's continuing remarks.

"The past two years have been filled with assaults on the media and Donald Trump's comments this week have reached an all-time low with attacks on three black female journalists. His dismissive comments toward journalists April Ryan, Abby Phillip and Yamiche Alcindor are appalling, irresponsible, and should be denounced," the group's president said in a statement.