Independent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders paid a visit to a Los Angeles mosque on Saturday, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Sanders visited the mosque to commemorate the victims of the New Zealand mosque shooting. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, on March 15, a man named Brenton Tarrant gunned down and killed 50 worshipers at two New Zealand mosques.
The shooter appears to have been radicalized online, and his manifesto shows that he has been influenced by a number of American right-wing media personalities and politicians, including President Donald Trump. Trump condemned the attack and expressed condolences to the victims’ families and the people of New Zealand, but subsequently refused to acknowledge that right-wing extremism is becoming a major issue around the world.
“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. It’s certainly a terrible thing,” the president said, seemingly downplaying the threat of far-right violence. After those statements, less than 24 hours after the massacre, Trump warned of an immigrant “invasion,” using similar terminology the suspected shooter had used in his manifesto.
This prompted wide condemnation, with many arguing that Trump has incited violence and used inflammatory rhetoric.
During his Los Angeles speech, in what was an obvious condemnation of President Trump, Bernie Sanders vowed to do the opposite once and if he becomes president.
“As president of the United States, I will not have kind words to say about authoritarian leaders around the world who espouse bigotry and hatred. Together we will make the United States the leader in the world in the fight for democracy and human rights.”
“Now is the time, as never before, for us to stand up to hatred of all kind,” Sanders said, without mentioning President Donald Trump by name.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sanders’ statements were very well received and numerous members of the audience told the publication that they will gladly vote for Sanders in the 2020 presidential election.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 23, 2019
“It just shows that he has a vision that encompasses the best for everybody,” high school teacher Karima Razi said of the senator’s speech.
Bernie Sanders remains one of the most popular politicians in the country. When it comes to polls pertaining to the Democratic presidential primary, however, Sanders is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden, who has all but officially announced his candidacy, according to Vox.
If Biden drops out of the race or decides not to run, according to the publication, Sanders will likely emerge as one of the front runners.