On Monday evening, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released a statement via email to subscribers regarding Donald Trump’s controversial statement regarding Muslims. Trump suggested a ban on all Muslim travel into the United States. He later amended his statement to include United States citizens in the ban, effectively suggesting that the U.S. government deport all Muslims who are not currently in the country.
A statement released by Trump’s campaign explained the real estate mogul’s reason for this.
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
His remarks have become more and more inflammatory against Islam and Muslims in general, which appeal to his base. However, Senator Bernie Sanders, among other political leaders, finds his rhetoric disturbing.
In his email, Senator Sanders reiterates what Donald Trump suggests: to ban all Muslims from coming in to the United States, even American citizens returning from overseas.
Violence against “others” has already played out as a result of his controversial statements. Recently, when the GOP front runner was in South Carolina for a rally, his supports violently attacked a Black Lives Matter activist, with folks kicking and punching him before he was thrown out. Donald Trump later suggested that the protester deserved to be attacked.
While his campaign manager included citizens traveling abroad and returning, Donald Trump clarified that the Muslim travel ban would not include current citizens in an interview with on Fox News on Monday.
Bernie Sanders continued his criticism of Trump by citing history.
“Demagogues throughout our history have attempted to divide us based on race, gender, sexual orientation or country of origin. Now, Trump and others want us to hate all Muslims. The United States is a great nation when we stand together. We are a weak nation when we allow racism and xenophobia to divide us.”
Unlike Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders has long been a champion for groups that have traditionally experienced discrimination. On Monday, he met with immigrant families in his Washington, D.C. office to talk about immigration reform and to lay out his plan, which includes fair wages for immigrants, dismantling of inhumane deportation programs and detention centers, modernizing the visa system, reversing the criminalization of undocumented immigrants, creating a pathway to citizenship, and ensuring borders remain secure.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, pandered to supporters in Davenport, Iowa.
“That s**t is not going to happen any more. We’re going to be so vigilant. We’re going to be so careful. We’re going to be so tough and so mean and so nasty.”
He never did clarify exactly what his plan was, just that the United States would be “so nasty” against Muslim immigrants and extremists. The New Yorker has compared Trump’s sophomoric proclamations to France’s Marine Le Pen, the ultra-right-wing National Front leader who has proposed an end to all immigration into the nation, both legal and illegal.
During a CNN interview while at the rally, Donald Trump supporter Ed Campbell agreed with his favorite candidate about a Muslim travel ban into the United States.
“I agree…I don’t want them here. Who knows what they are going to bring into the country. Bombs, ISIS, what? They need to go.”
While the vast majority of refugees and immigrants are law abiding citizens, the small minority who break the law are those who make the news. Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, killed 14 people at Farook’s workplace while his coworkers attended a Christmas party. It is speculated that Malik may have become radicalized while attending college in Pakistan.
These outliers have given conservatives like Donald Trump just enough fuel to fan the anti-Muslim immigration fire, while Bernie Sanders and his fellow Democratic candidates advocate a more humane approach to the Syrian refugee crisis and anti-American terrorism in general.
It comes as no surprise, however, that Donald Trump is advocating for such extreme, prejudicial measures. He has a long history of discriminating against those who do not fit into his narrow image of the conservative white American. In 1973, not long after his father, Fred Trump, handed the reigns of his empire over to him, the U.S. Justice Department sued Donald Trump. The suit alleged that Donald had refused to sell or rent property to African-Americans. The suit was finally settled in 1975 with Trump not admitting to any guilt.
Bernie Sanders, the Independent candidate from Vermont, seeks to bring people together regardless of race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation/identity, while Donald Trump seeks a divide and conquer strategy, which ultimately may be more damaging to the United States if he wins election than any current policy in effect right now.
[Photo: Ty Wright/Getty Images]