Politics

Bernie Sanders Hits Democrats Over Their Past: ‘They Had Segregationists Leading The Party!’

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Justin Caruso Contributor

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders may be running for the Democratic nomination, but he’s plenty critical of the history of the party.

In a newly published interview in the magazine, The Nation, Sanders proclaimed that while he supported the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal, the party had lots of issues.

“They had segregationists leading the party!” the independent told writer John Nichols.

Sanders also talked fondly about how Roosevelt “welcomed the hatred” of rich people.

“What Roosevelt understood is that you have entrenched economic interests—he called them economic royalists, we call them the billionaire class—who will do anything to protect their wealth and power. You cannot bring about real change unless you are prepared to confront these people,” he said. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Tells Union Worker: I’d ‘Absolutely’ Take Away Your Health Care Plan)

He also said that the movement he was building around his campaign was similar to the civil rights movement or the gay rights movement.

“So this campaign is about two things. It’s certainly about winning here in Iowa and winning the nomination and beating Trump. But it is also about transforming America,” Sanders said. “The way we do that is through a movement not dissimilar to the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay rights movement, the labor movement. That’s how change takes place.” (RELATED: ‘End Of Discussion’: Bernie Sanders Says We’re Going To Stop Using Coal, Gasoline)

Sanders’ competitor for the nomination, Democratic frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden, has been criticized repeatedly for working with segregationists.

In 1975, Biden said that rejecting integrated schools is a form of “black pride.”

“I think the concept of busing … that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest, is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride,” he said.

The former vice president also once said that working with segregationist politicians was an example of “civility,” a comment that many of his competitors attacked him for.