-- BERKELEY, CA — Bernie Sanders said Friday that he understood the anger many voters and activists feel towards Donald Trump, but condemned the violence that erupted in San Jose, CA, last night at a Trump event, saying he did not want any supporters who were resorting to violence.
“Violence is absolutely and totally unacceptable,” Sanders said. “Anyone even thinking about violence, please do not tell anybody you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, because those are not the supporters that I want”
For months, Sanders has called the presumptive Republican nominee a “bigot" and a “liar,” and almost daily Sanders has accused Trump of scapegoating minorities. He said during the press conference tailored toward issues of labor and economy that he empathized with the outrage of those demonstrating.
"I understand how reprehensible and disgraceful Donald Trump’s positions are,” he continued. “I can understand the anger, I surely can, because I feel it. The bigotry that is coming from his mouth, the insults to the Mexican community, and the Latino community, and the Muslim community, and women, and African Americans, and veterans, I understand the anger.”
Trump has said that he is the "least racist person you have ever met."
Sanders, a longstanding independent in Congress and democratic socialist, is known for his involvement in protests throughout his life and political career. He talks often about his participation in sit-ins, marches, and demonstrations during the Civil Rights era and throughout his presidential campaign he has been quick to join union picket lines in cities he visits across the country.
Still, Sanders added that Trump would not be defeated with violence, but called for peaceful organizing. “We will defeat Trump, but the way to defeat Trump is not by violence,” he said. “The way to defeat him is not by violence of any kind, not by personal harassment, it’s by educating, by organizing and bringing people out to vote.”