Sanders calls Senate obstruction a ‘racist effort to delegitimize’ Obama

Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders knocked Donald Trump on Tuesday over his outspoken support for false claims that President Obama was not born in the United States. Sanders said the so-called birther movement is partly motivated by racism — but stopped short of saying that’s what drove the bombastic mogul to be its champion.

Sanders’ comments came in a CNN town hall event at which he was asked about Senate Republican promises to block any Obama nominee to fill the Supreme Court seat long held by the late Antonin Scalia.

“What you are seeing today in this Supreme Court situation is nothing more than the continuous and unprecedented obstructionism that President Obama has gone through” at the hands of Republicans, the Vermont senator said.

“This is on top of the birther issue, which we heard from Donald Trump and others, a racist effort to try to delegitimize the president of the United States,” Sanders continued.


Bernie Sanders talks with TV host Chris Cuomo during a CNN town hall event in Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday. (Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP)

Sanders said his father came from Poland but, “Guess what? Nobody has asked for my birth certificate. Maybe it’s the color of my skin, I don’t know.”

CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked the senator whether Trump was motivated by racism.

Sanders demurred.

“You know, I’m not a psychoanalyst — and boy, would a psychoanalyst have an interesting time with Donald Trump,” he said, to laughter from the crowd. “I’m not going to speak to Trump, but do I think that at least in some parts of that Republican base there is race involved in that? Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Back when Trump was fueling speculation he might run for president in 2012, the real estate developer repeatedly questioned whether Obama was born in Hawaii, at one point saying he had sent private investigators there. The president responded to the rekindled rumors by releasing his long-form birth certificate in April 2011.