Earlier this week, supporters of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders engaged in a violent brawl at a San Jose rally. In response, Senator Sanders has spoken out against any of his supporters who dare to take part in this kind of activity.
According to the Washington Post, one day after the incident at a press conference with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Bernie Sanders condemned violence of any kind and disowned any violent voters who claim to support him.
“Violence is absolutely and totally unacceptable. If people are thinking about violence, please do not tell anybody you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, because those are not the supporters that I want.”
However, Bernie Sanders did acknowledge the motivation for violence against Trump’s supporters, admitting that he believes the candidate’s “ignorant” policies are a disgrace to American communities. Even so, Senator Sanders was very clear in insisting that violence should not be tolerated under any circumstances, neither by supporters of Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Instead, the progressive candidate called for education and organization as alternatives to riots.
“I understand how reprehensible and disgraceful Donald Trump’s positions are — how ignorant they are,” said Bernie Sanders. “I can understand the anger, I surely can, because I feel it. The bigotry that is coming out of his mouth. The insults to the Mexican community, the Latino community, the Muslim community, and women, and African-Americans, and veterans. I understand the anger. But we are not going to defeat Trump by throwing eggs or getting involved in violence of any kind. We defeat Trump when we stand together as one people and fight for a progressive agenda. Educate. Organize. Bring out large numbers of people.”
This isn’t the first time Bernie Sanders has condemned violence, however. Watch him speak out against violent riots at a Nevada event below.
Donald Trump supporters already have a number of violent incidents in the news, which Trump has at some points condemned and at other points seemingly encouraged. Either way, Bernie Sanders believes fighting the Trump campaign with more violence is not the solution to defeating the presumptive Republican nominee. According to ABC News, Sanders advocated for peace and, once again, organization.
“We will defeat Trump, but the way to defeat Trump is not by violence. The way to defeat him is not by violence of any kind, not by personal harassment, it’s by educating, by organizing and bringing people out to vote.”
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders’ biggest competitor, fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, has also recently condemned violence at Trump rallies. According to the Wall Street Journal, Clinton agrees with Sanders‘ claim that all politically motivated violence should stop, no matter who starts it or what provoked it. However, while Bernie Sanders empathized with the anger against the “bigotry” of Trump supporters, Hillary Clinton took it a step further by essentially blaming all of the political violence on Donald Trump himself.
“I condemn all violence in our political arena,” said Hillary Clinton. “I condemned it when Donald Trump was inciting it and congratulating people who were engaging in it. I condemn it by those who are taking violent protests to physical assault against Donald Trump. This has to end.”
Sanders and Clinton both seem to believe that the violent responses to Trump’s campaign have been a result of voters fighting fire with fire, so to speak. Hillary suggested that Donald Trump created a political landscape where violence in defense of your beliefs is acceptable, which has then provoked supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to fight back in the same fashion.
“He created an environment in which it seemed to be acceptable for someone running for president to be inciting violence, to be encouraging his supporters. Now, we’re seeing people who are against him responding in kind.”
What do you think? Is Donald Trump responsible for all of the violence? Do you agree with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton?
[Photos by David McNew and Spencer Platt/Getty Images]