WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sen. Bernie Sanders again called President Donald Trump a “racist,” drawing a rebuke from the Republican National Committee.
Sanders, a Vermont Independent contemplating another presidential run, laced into the president in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech in South Carolina, a key primary state.
“In terms of racism, and it gives me no pleasure to say this, we today have a president who is a racist,” Sanders said Monday. “Donald Trump, before he was president, was one of the leaders of the so-called ‘birther movement,’ which sought to portray Barack Obama as an illegitimate president, someone not born in the United States.”
Sanders in his ’16 run was weakest among minorities, but has since gained ground among African-Americans, polls show. South Carolina is the third presidential nomination contest, and its Democratic primary attracts a relatively high percentage of black voters.
Sanders, who will be 79 in 2020, has yet to say whether he will run again.
Conservatives expressed outrage at Sanders, who has called Trump a racist multiple times, as far back as the 2016 campaign. Fox News host Brian Kilmeade raised Sanders’ comments Tuesday on a segment on “Fox & Friends,” which counts Trump as a frequent viewer.
“Absolutely disgusting and wrong,” Ronna McDaniel, the RNC chairwoman, said on Twitter. “@realDonaldTrump has brought African American and Hispanic unemployment to record lows, passed historic criminal justice reform.”