Vermont Independent Senator and 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders defended Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar on Monday against what he described as “outrageous, racist” attacks, but said the rookie lawmaker has to “do maybe a better job in speaking to the Jewish community.”
“Hold it, hold it, hold it,” Sanders said at a Fox News town hall when moderator Bret Baier called him a “staunch supporter” of the embattled congresswoman, who has been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes.
“I’ve talked to Ilhan about twice in my life. I respect her, but this is what I do support — I support a Muslim member of Congress not to be attacked every single day in outrageous, racist remarks,” Sanders said.
Baier asked the 2020 presidential candidate, who would become the first Jewish president, if he understands why Jewish Americans might have a problem with some of Omar’s remarks on Israel.
“I do understand, but I think that is not quite right,” Sanders said. “I think that Ilhan has got to do maybe a better job in speaking to the Jewish community.”
Sanders also noted that his family was “devastated” by Adolf Hitler during the Holocaust.
“I will do everything in my power, and I hope that every member of Congress will fight not only anti-Semitism, but racism and anti-Muslim activity so that we create a nondiscriminatory society,” Sanders said.
“But it is not anti-Semitic to be critical of a right-wing government in Israel. That is not anti-Semitic.”