Comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan recently said he would “probably” be voting for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. In response, the Sanders campaign posted a video highlighting the endorsement, which has sparked a debate on social media over whether the 78-year-old politician should have spotlighted Rogan’s comments.
Many critics accused the UFC commentator of being transphobic and pointed to his past remarks on his platform.
“I really like Bernie and am disappointed to see the campaign boost Rogan, who has made some very anti-trans comments. I really hope the campaign reconsiders,” wrote activist Alexis Goldstein, who linked to a video in which Rogan says trans women are put in a “more protected class of woman” than natural-born females.
Conversely, Ryan Grim, Washington, D.C., bureau chief at The Intercept, noted that Rogan is a voice that is part of politics regardless, pointing to his millions of viewers and the vast reach of his voice.
“Nothing you do can change that. You can either have him in the Sanders tent in conversation with people with decent values or cast him out into the arms of Trump. The latter will do far more harm.”
He also claimed that it was “pretty clear” most of the critics responding to his tweet “don’t actually listen to his show.”
One user who responded to Grim’s tweet noted that Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg reportedly asked the comedian if they can appear on his show, The Joe Rogan Experience.
“I want supporters of Warren, Buttigieg and Biden to explain why their candidates wanted to go on Joe Rogan’s podcast so bad,” they wrote, adding that such supporters are only upset because the podcaster “rejected them.”
“I think I'll probably vote for Bernie… He’s been insanely consistent his entire life. He’s basically been saying the same thing, been for the same thing his whole life. And that in and of itself is a very powerful structure to operate from.” -Joe Rogan pic.twitter.com/fuQP0KwGGI
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 23, 2020
Sanders appeared on Rogan’s podcast in August of last year, and the episode has gained over 11 million views on YouTube to date. The top comments on the video note that he sounded “intelligent and “interesting,” as opposed to the “hit pieces” that portray him as a “lunatic.”
Along with Sanders, fellow Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard have also appeared on Rogan’s show.
The Vermont senator has been polling well as the Iowa caucuses approach on February 3. Although Sanders’ campaign — like others — has been sidetracked due to the Senate trial of Donald Trump, the New York Post reports he will be appearing for a rally in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday night, along with progressive New York City Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are also set to appear in Perry, Storm Lake, and Sioux City on Sunday, where they will be joined by filmmaker Michael Moore.