Bernie Sanders said Tuesday he understands where the anger from many Americans is coming from, but said Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is focusing it on scapegoats, including Mexicans and Muslims.
“The average guy, he is asking why he has to work longer hours for lower wages. He’s really worried, or she is really worried, his mother is really worried about the future of his children. And yet almost all new income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent,” Sanders told CNN’s Erin Burnett on “OutFront.”
“People are angry,” Sanders said. “What Trump is doing is taking that anger and saying, ‘It’s the fault of the Mexicans,’ or, ‘It’s the fault of the Muslims. We’ve got to scapegoat people!’ Well, beating up on Mexicans who make eight bucks an hour is not going to deal with the real issue.”
The Vermont senator also suggested Trump himself is driving some of the violence witnessed as some of his campaign rallies.
“What has concerned me very much about Donald Trump is the edginess of calls to violence around his campaign, which I found absolutely shocking,” Sanders told Burnett.
Trump’s campaign manager was also arrested Tuesday in Florida and charged with battery against a female reporter. Trump’s campaign said he is innocent of the charge.
Tensions have escalated at recent Trump events, with one attendee knocking an African-American protester to the ground in North Carolina at a rally earlier this month. The attendee was later charged with assault after he said of the protester, “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”
“Not only his campaign manager’s action, but he was prepared, or at least indicated, that he was prepared to pay the legal fees for somebody who quite openly sucker-punched somebody and knocked them down,” Sanders said. “And when you say that you’re going to pay the legal fees for somebody who commits a gross act of violence, what you’re really telling your supporters is that violence is OK.”
Trump has repeatedly said he does not condone violence at his rallies.