Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) had a briefly awkward moment when he assumed an MSNBC town hall questioner Monday night was a Muslim, when in fact the young man was Hindu.
Adding a bit to the irony was that the man was talking about Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric in the wake of numerous violent incidents between Trump supporters and protesters at recent rallies.
“The violence against religious and ethnic minorities around the country, especially in Trump rallies, is very disturbing and to be honest very scary, especially for someone who looks like me,” he said. “It is clear that these people who support Trump are not going to have a change of heart anytime soon, even if he doesn’t get the nomination.
“My question to you is, if president, what is going to be your approach in uniting the country, and in particular how do you address those people who relish in Trump’s divisive rhetoric?”
Sanders solemnly thanked him for the “important question,” saying it was sad he had to ask it.
“People should not be frightened because they are Muslims, because they are dark-complexioned, because they are Mexicans. and what Trump has done is really, really awful, so what do we do?” Sanders asked. “For a start, we understand that unlike Trump, what America’s strength has been, and it’s an extraordinary strength, is bringing our people together.”
Then things got a bit awkward.
“I’m Jewish. You’re Muslim,” Sanders said, pointing at the questioner, who shook his head.
“We have–you’re,” Sanders started.
“Hindu,” the man said.
“You’re Hindu. There you go, all right,” Sanders said, recovering. “But that’s what America is, and we’ve got Muslims here, and we’ve got Latinos here. What an extraordinary opportunity. We’ve got African Americans. All coming from different cultures, helping to create this great country and learning from each other.”