- The Washington Times - Friday, September 16, 2016

Sen. Bernard Sanders said Friday that Donald Trump’s campaign is about “bigotry” and that Mr. Trump led the “birther” movement several years ago that questioned whether President Obama was actually born in the United States.

“Isn’t that something — my word. After eight years of having President Obama as president, Donald Trump now thinks he’s a legitimate president,” Mr. Sanders said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“Well, I’m just overwhelmed with emotion,” Mr. Sanders quipped.

“Look, this is pathetic. And this goes to the root of what Trump’s campaign is about,” he said. “Let’s be clear: It’s about bigotry.”

Mr. Trump’s campaign put out a statement Thursday night saying Mr. Trump now believes Mr. Obama was born in the United States, only to have Mr. Trump decline to answer that question himself during an appearance on Fox Business Network Friday morning.

“Let’s all remember that a few years ago Donald Trump was the leader of the so-called birther movement,” Mr. Sanders said.

Mr. Sanders said the “birther” movement was not about being critical of Mr. Obama, but rather “delegitimizing the first African-American president in the history of our country.”

“And the reason for that was clear. There are racists in this country who could never accept the fact that we had a black president. And that’s what Trump was trying to do, delegitimize the president, not disagree with him,” he said.

“So I think this is part of his entire campaign of bigotry,” Mr. Sanders said. “It’s against Muslims. It’s against Mexicans, attacking … women, you know.”

“It is not acceptable for a candidate for president of the United States to be arguing whether or not our president was born in this country,” he said.

Mr. Sanders, who was Hillary Clinton’s top rival in the Democratic presidential primary contest, pointed out that his own father was born in Poland but that no one has ever asked Mr. Sanders whether he was born in the U.S.

“Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin,” he said.

Mr. Trump and his campaign have said that the “birther” movement originated with Mrs. Clinton and her 2008 presidential campaign. Fact-checkers have concluded that diehard supporters of Mrs. Clinton did push the theory, but that there’s no evidence the candidate herself or her campaign had anything to do with it.

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