Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rallied a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters in Detroit on Tuesday night with fierce condemnation of President Donald Trump over his recent comments about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“What we saw last week with Nazis and anti-Semites marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, was upsetting to all of us. The word that kept coming up from people, it was ‘scary, scary’ what was going on in America,” began Sanders, speaking at a town hall event that was supposed to focus on health care and jobs. “But what was even worse ― before, what we’ve never seen before ― whether the president was a Democrat or a Republican, was a president who could not condemn Nazism in the strongest possible terms.”
He continued: “400,000 Americans died and many more were injured fighting against Hitler and Nazism and fascism, and we have a president who was equivocal: ‘There are nice people on both sides.’ No, there are no nice Nazis.”
Sanders was referencing Trump’s response to a white supremacist rally that sparked violence in Charlottesville earlier this month. One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed and at least 19 others were injured when a 20-year-old man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. During one of his responses to the incident, Trump said that “there is blame on both sides” and added that there were “very fine people” on either side of the protests.
Shortly after Trump’s comments, Sanders tweeted that Trump was “embarrassing our country and the millions of Americans who fought and died to defeat Nazism.”
On Tuesday evening, Sanders’ rhetoric at the town hall quickly turned into what the Detroit Free Press compared to his campaign speeches as a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.
“Yes, there are divisions in this country, but on major issue after major issue, the American people are united on wanting a government that represents all of us and not just the 1%,” he said at Detroit’s Fellowship Chapel Church, where he was joined by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.).
Conyers went on to support the “fundamental human right” of health care in a democracy.
“There are two fundamental human rights in our great democracy: Everyone should have health care from the minute they’re born and then, of course, after you get born, you got to get a job,” Conyers said, according to the Free Press. “There should be full employment in the wealthiest nation in history. And for those that don’t have work or don’t know the technology that’s coming on so rapidly, we’ve got to train them.”