Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders Use ‘Fine People’ Charlottesville Hoax

Robert E. Lee Charlottesville (Bill McChesney / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Bill McChesney / Flickr / CC / Cropped

The Charlottesville hoax — the false claim that President Donald Trump referred to neo-Nazis as “very fine people” — persists in the Democratic Party presidential primary, with at least two candidates making the claim this week.

Top-tier contenders Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) used the hoax in the context of their appearances at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference in New York City, where both also endorsed Sharpton’s push for reparations for slavery, nearly 160 years after the end of the Civil War.

Sanders made the false claim during his remarks to the conference:

O’Rourke invoked the Charlottesville hoax while comparing President Trump to Adolf Hitler, and his administration to the Third Reigh:

Fellow frontrunner Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has also used the Charlotesville hoax in her campaign.

As Breitbart News, the Wall Street Journal, and CNN contributor Steve Cortes have noted, Trump used the phrase “very fine people” to refer to peaceful protesters on the right and the left who came to Charlottesville to express their views on the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. President Trump specifically excluded neo-Nazis and white supremacists from the “very fine people,” saying that they should be “condemned totally.”

Ironically, Sharpton has a long history of incendiary racist and antisemitic rhetoric. Media outlets — with a few exceptions, like the Los Angeles Times — have ignored Sharpton’s controversial past in this week’s coverage.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. 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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