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

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

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAndrew Cuomo: Biden has best chance at 'main goal' of beating Trump Poll: Buttigieg tops Harris, O'Rourke as momentum builds Buttigieg responds to accusation of pushing a 'hate hoax' about Pence MORE (I-Vt.) on Wednesday lashed out at President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers 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 WatersHarris says Congress should take steps toward impeaching Trump On The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment 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.