Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT.) had trouble connecting with the attendants of a presidential forum hosted by She the People, a group created to elevate the political voices of women of color.
During the forum, Sanders was asked how he would stop the rise of race-based violence in the country.
Instead of diving into policy ideas related to hate crimes, racism and white supremacy in general, the senator seemingly dodged the question.
“The goal that we have got to establish is to bring our people together around an agenda that speaks to all people,” Sanders said to the audience at Texas Southern University before getting lost in a lecture about minimum wage.
Eventually his response veered so far off topic that the founder and president of She the People, Aimee Allison, reminded him of the original question.
“The core of the question is about as president, what would you do with the rise of white supremacist violence to protect our community?” Allison offered.
“Absolutely,” Sanders replied.
The 2020 presidential candidate then lost the crowd a second time when he dove into his anecdote about marching with Dr. Martin Luther King.
“I know I date myself a little bit here, but I actually was at the March on Washington with Dr. King back in 1963,” he said before someone in the audience yelled, “We know!”
“As somebody who actively supported Jesse Jackson’s campaign—as one of the few white elected officials to do so in ’88—I have dedicated my life to the fight against racism and sexism and discrimination of all forms,” Sanders added.
At a different point in the forum, co-host Joy Reid asked Sanders how he would win over Hillary Clinton voters, a group which heavily includes Black women.
Sanders responded by calling Trump “the most dangerous president” and by calling for “social justice, racial justice and environmental justice.”
Then when Reid asked, “Yeah, and for Black women specifically,” Sanders responded, “I’m sorry?”
“For Black women specifically?” Reid reiterated.
“Black women will be an integral part of what our campaign, and what our administration is about. OK? And that means ...” Sanders began as as the audience began to heckle him.
“Were you finished with your ...?” Allison asked.
“Yeah,” Sanders replied.
Clips were shared to social media, where the senator was criticized for being ill-prepared to speak to a forum for Black women.
(Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images)