Bernie Sanders calls Trump a racist before Apollo event

Democratic presidential contender was at the Jazz Foundation’s ‘A Great Night in Harlem’ annual gala

Sen. Bernie Sanders made a trip to the Apollo Theater in Harlem to pay tribute to Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett and the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., but along the way slammed President Donald Trump as a racist.

The Democratic presidential contender was at the Jazz Foundation’s “A Great Night in Harlem” annual gala where Belafonte and Bennett were honoured on Thursday night. Both worked with King, and the evening marked the 51st anniversary of King’s slaying in Memphis, Tennessee, during a visit to rally sanitation works on strike.

“This is also a night that we remember the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and one of the great leaders in American history who died, as we’ll never forget helping sanitation workers get some dignity in their lives,” Sanders told The Associated Press in an interview before the event.

Sanders recounted the great strides King made toward racial harmony, but said that tolerance has lost step over the past couple of years, and put the blame at the feet of President Donald Trump.

“We have a president, and I say this without any joy in my heart, who is a racist. It’s hard to believe that we have a president of the United States who is, in fact, a racist,” Sanders said.

A request for comment from the White House was not immediately returned.

READ MORE: Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’s running for president in 2020

Sanders says eradicating racism is a high priority if he were to be elected president.

“As president of the United States, what I would be doing is bringing our people together to create a nation that works for all of us, and not just the 1%. To deal with the racism and the disparities that exists, not only between the rich and the poor, but between whites and blacks,” Sanders said

Sanders was a contender in the 2016 race, where he lost the bid for the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. But 2020 already shows a crowded field that includes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Corey Booker, Sen. Kamila Harris, and at least a dozen more.

Sanders calls them, “some really good people,” and said. “You’re not going to hear me disparaging some of my Democratic opponents. They’re friends of mine and they’re good people. “

Before going inside, the 77-year old Sanders joked about maintaining his stamina for an election.

“Well when you have 28 years of age, you know, it ain’t hard,” Sanders said.

John Carucci, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

COLUMN: Imagine the possibilities at the library

Programs at Summerland Library promote reading among children

Severe thunderstorm watch issued for Okanagan and Connector

Storms expected to develop this morning and intensify early in the afternoon

Update on South Okanagan-Similkameen national park reserve announced Tuesday

Environment and Climate Change minister Catherine McKenna will join others in Osoyoos

Police continue to investigate fatal highway crash

Accident between Summerland and Penticton on Tuesday resulted in death of motorcycle rider

Chilliwack man charged in crash that killed Kelowna pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Suspicious Rutland car fire has one woman think it was targeted

A family who raised their voice against the McCurdy Road house has car torched, is it connected?

Olympic skier from B.C. suing Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Action imperative on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Chief commissioner into national inquiry encourages governments, private sector to act

B.C. senior’s car vandalized for more than 18 months

Retired RCMP officer determined to catch ‘tagger.’

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Summerland golfers compete in league games

Regular club events continue through the summer

NHL stars return to Okanagan for charity slo-pitch game

The Gorges/Comeau Homebase Chairty Tournament returns June 28 in Kelowna

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Massive red treble clef proposed to take over Shuswap

Idea is to pay tribute to artisans in the community

Most Read