Bernie Sanders Spreads Fake News About Charlottesville in Wake of El Paso, Ohio Shootings

Al Sharpton and Bernie Sanders (Drew Angerer / Getty)
Drew Angerer / Getty

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has published an essay about the weekend mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, in which he repeats the fake news that President Donald Trump praised neo-Nazis after the Charlottesville riots in 2017.

Sanders has made the false claim before — ironically, in a speech at the National Action Network, an organization run by Al Sharpton, a demagogue with a long record of divisive, racist, and antisemitic rhetoric.

As Breitbart News and other sources have repeatedly pointed out, Trump’s “very fine people” line in August 2017 was describing non-violent protesters both for and against the removal of a Confederate statue. He also added specifically: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

In his Aug. 4 essay at Medium — ironically titled “We Must Bring People Together, Not Instigate Hatred,” though its false claims are certain to divide — Sanders claims that President Trump “coddles Nazis and Klansmen” and adds: “On a personal level, seeing an American president describe people marching under a swastika as ‘good people; fills me with anger and disgust.” Sanders does not even quote the “very fine people” hoax correctly.

That is not the only error in the essay. Sanders claims:

I am personally all too familiar with the barbarity that comes from hateful ideology. Most of my own father’s family was brutally murdered at the hands of Hitler’s white supremacist regime. That regime came to power on a wave of violence and hatred against racial and religious minorities. We cannot allow that cancer to grow here.

Hitler’s regime was not merely “white supremacist.” Nazi ideology distinguished among different “races” in Europe, placing the “Aryan” race above others, particularly the Slavic races of the east whose countries Hitler invaded and occupied.

To describe Hitler in this way is an attempt to liken the U.S. to the Third Reich — something that Democratic presidential candidates have been doing frequently since the shootings.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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