(JTA) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders asserted in an interview that he did not compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler during a campaign rally over the weekend in Wisconsin.
“Some of you know I’m Jewish. My dad came — my father came to this country at the age of 17 from Poland,” Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont, said Saturday at a town hall meeting in Milwaukee, when asked about Trump’s comments involving Muslims and banning them from the United States.
“He came over; other people in his family did not come over. Most people died. Children died. Relatives of my father. So that is in my heart to see what a lunatic can do by stirring up racial hatred. And we’re not going to allow that to take place in this country,”
Wisconsin voters will go to the polls for the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
Asked the following day by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” if he was really “comparing Trump to Hitler,” Sanders said he did not make that comparison and instead was responding to the fears that Trump’s rhetoric has instilled in Muslims.
“What I talked about there was a Muslim woman there next to me, and she is telling me that, what is true, is that people in the Muslim community are very fearful now. She was describing a kid who now locks the door at night,” Sanders told Stephanopoulos.
“And what I was saying is I’m going to do everything that I can to kind of stop those Islamophobic attacks so that kids in this country who happen to be Muslim are afraid. No, I did not compare Trump to Hitler. But I will do everything that I can to stop this type of hatred and hate talk that we are hearing.”