LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Faiz Shakir, campaign manager for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), repeated the accusation that President Donald Trump had referred to neo-Nazis as “very fine people” in a discussion with Breitbart News in the spin room after Wednesday evening’s Democrat debate.
Shakir had been fending off questions about “Bernie bros,” and accusations that Sanders supporters have been particularly aggressive toward supporters of other candidates.
Breitbart News asked him why, if it was admittedly unfair to judge the Sanders campaign by the actions of a few supporters, Sanders himself appeared to judge Trump by the actions of people on an extremist fringe with no link to the campaign.
Specifically, in a new Internet ad touting Sanders as the possible “first Jewish president,” the campaign uses footage of neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville in August 2017 and claims the president had referred to them as “very fine people.”
Breitbart News pointed out to Shakir that Trump had, in fact, said the neo-Nazis should be “condemned totally.” He appeared unfamiliar with the transcript of Trump’s remarks.
Shakir went on to cite other examples of Trump using controversial language. Breitbart News countered by asking why Sanders had repeatedly associated with antisemitic figures such as Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Sanders’ campaign manager countered by saying that Sanders should be judged by his own words.
The “very fine people” hoax has been a staple of Democrat campaigns, notably that of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Breitbart News challenged Biden on his use of the hoax last summer at the Iowa State Fair.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.