Bernie Sanders claims queer and trans people ‘fit into his campaign the same way everyone else fits in’
US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has told an audience in North Carolina that queer and trans people are part of his campaign “the way that everyone else fits in”.
Speaking in Greensboro, North Carolina, Sanders was accompanied by actor Danny Glover, Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen and the rapper Michael Render, better known as Killer Mike.
According to the New Yorker, Sanders was speaking at a campaign event at Prestige Barber College, an African-American establishment in a former cleaners on the northeast side of town.
Killer Mike opened for Sanders with remarks emphasising his commitment to criminal-justice reform and his activist history.
“He is one of the first people I’ve seen run for public office who has the proof in pictures — that he got drug out by the police with us,” he said. “Not that he sympathised. Not that ‘my heart was hurting’. Naw, I saw this skinny-ass kid in glasses getting drug off.”
Sanders then spoke about his policy positions, promising that a Sanders administration would “attack racism in every conceivable way”.
During the Q&A session that followed Sanders speech, a black trans woman in the audience said to him: “I hear what you’re saying about what you’re doing for the whole of black folks and poor folks. How do queer people and trans people fit into your campaign?”
Sanders reportedly then put his arm around the woman. “They fit in the way that everyone else fits in,” he said. “We’re going to fight for a non-discriminatory system. We kind of look at people as human beings. Everybody. We treat people alike. And we’re going to do our very best to break down the racist, the sexist, and the homophobic, and all the other barriers.”
Killer Mike previously endorsed Sanders’ 2015 campaign. After Sanders failed to win the Democratic nomination in 2016, Killer Mike said, “If you’re voting for Trump or Hillary Clinton, you’re voting for the same thing.”
Organisations that previously endorsed Sanders, like the Working Families Party, have now shifted their loyalty to Elizabeth Warren. Killer Mike said that Elizabeth Warren is his second-favourite candidate: “I’ve liked Elizabeth since the 90s,” he said.
But, he added, “It’s hard to beat Trump without the antithesis of him. It’s hard to beat Magneto without Professor X. And I think that’s Sanders.”