Bernie Sanders Campaign Defends Decision To Highlight Joe Rogan Endorsement

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding August 14, 2015 in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

The Bernie Sanders campaign waded into controversy when it spotlighted Joe Rogan‘s likely endorsement of the Vermont Sen., which led to both support and criticism. Not long after, the Sanders campaign released a response addressing the controversy, Fox News reported.

“The goal of our campaign is to build a multi-racial, multi-generational movement that is large enough to defeat Donald Trump and the powerful special interests whose greed and corruption is the root cause of the outrageous inequality in America,” Sanders’ national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray said in a statement shared with various news outlets.

“Sharing a big tent requires including those who do not share every one of our beliefs, while always making clear that we will never compromise our values. The truth is that standing together in solidarity, we share the values of love and respect that will move us in the direction of a more humane, more equal world.”

Critics point to Rogan’s controversial comments, while others note that the comedian claims Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg have all asked to go on his show. As of now, the only other Democratic presidential candidates that have appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience aside from Sanders are Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard.

Per Mediaite, Vox’s Ezra Klein noted that former President Barack Obama courted many controversial voters and public figures. He pointed to Obama’s highlighting of Colin Powell’s endorsement, despite the retired general’s role in pushing American’s into the Iraq War.

Nevertheless, the head of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group, released its own statement in which it called on Sanders to reconsider the endorsement, noting Rogan’s controversial comments. However, the stance had its critics, including congressional candidate Salem Snow, who pointed to the HRC’s support of Hillary Clinton and her anti-LGBTQ past.

Snow also noted that the advocacy group said nothing of Clinton’s appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show.

Despite the controversy, CNN reports that Sanders is the favorite to win Iowa just one week before the caucuses on February 3. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll of Iowa caucusgoers found Sanders leading with 25 percent. The only candidates that came close were Pete Buttigieg with 18 percent support, followed by Joe Biden with 17 percent and Elizabeth Warren with 15 percent.

Although Sanders is in a good position, CNN noted that his odds of winning are still one in three, as the top four candidates remain in a tight battle with one another.