Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday blasted Republican Donald Trump's anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric and called out the racism implied in birther claims by Trump and other Republicans that President Barack Obama is Muslim and wasn't born in the U.S.
Sanders, answering a Muslim voter's question at a town hall in Nevada about how he would address Islamophobia, delivered a powerful condemnation of Republican candidates' racist and nativist rhetoric. He specifically referred to Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from the U.S. and his offensive comments against Latino immigrants.
After telling the voter that he would try to eradicate Islamophobia “bluntly and directly,” Sanders continued:
We have welcomed people into this country. My dad came from Poland at the age of 17. People can disagree about immigration and immigration reform. I believe we need comprehensive immigration reform. It's absolutely unacceptable to me that in the year 2016, we have people like Donald Trump and others who are trying to gain votes by scapegoating people who may be Muslims or people who may be Latinos. That's unacceptable. This country has struggled too much for too many years.
Sanders slammed Trump and other so-called birthers who have falsely suggested that Obama is a Muslim and was born in Kenya, noting the racist undertones behind the claim.
“By the way, I’m appalled," Sanders said. "People can agree with Barack Obama, you can disagree with Barack Obama. Anybody who doesn't understand that the kind of obstructionism and hatred thrown at this man, the idea of making him a delegitimate president by suggesting he was not born in America because his dad came from Kenya. No one asked me whether I'm a citizen or not. My father came from Poland. What's the difference? Maybe the color of our skin.
"All of us together have got to say no to racism and bigotry of all forms," Sanders said.
He ended by thanking the voter, a doctor, for serving his community.
Watch Sanders’ full response above.
Also on HuffPost: