- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2016

Breaking from the campaign trail just days before the crucial New York primary, Sen. Bernard Sanders allied himself with Pope Francis Friday and said the entire world must fight against income inequality and climate change.

“In our country and around the world, we are seeing a handful of very, very wealthy people become wealthier while most people are becoming poorer,” Mr. Sanders said in a brief press conference in Vatican City, where he addressed a conference on social and environmental justice.

“It is immoral, and together we have got to change that,” the Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist said. “I have been enormously impressed by Pope Francis speaking out and his visionary views about creating a moral economy, an economy that works for all people, not just the people on top. And what he has said over and over again is we cannot just allow the market to do what the market does. That is not acceptable.”

His comments come just 12 hours after a contentious Brooklyn debate with presidential primary rival Hillary Clinton, a forum marked by harsh personal attacks and open questions about whether the other is truly qualified to be president.

New York Democrats will go to the polls April 19, and polls show Mrs. Clinton with a commanding double-digit lead over Mr. Sanders.

While Mrs. Clinton left New York to attend high-priced West Coast fundraisers over the weekend, Mr. Sanders flew to the Vatican immediately after Thursday night’s debate.

He used his brief time there to not only denounce income inequality but also to take aim at climate change, an issue Pope Francis has made a central part of his broader message of social justice.

“The greed of the fossil fuel industry is literally destroying our planet,” Mr. Sanders said. “The scientists are virtually unanimous. Climate change is real and it is caused by human activity. It is already causing devastating problems all over this planet, and whether the fossil fuel industry likes it or not, we have got to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels … We have got to confront the greed of people who are so much more concerned about their own billions than the future of our children and the future of our planet.”

Mr. Sanders will return to the New York campaign trail Saturday.

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