CNN Panel Laughs at Sanders Refusing to Call Himself a Democrat While on Democratic ‘Unity Tour’

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CNN's "Inside Politics" panel laughed Thursday at the apparent signs of disunity during the current "Unity Tour" of the Democratic Party, particularly when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) could not even identify himself as a Democrat.

Sanders and newly elected Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez are on a rocky, nationwide "Unity Tour" after a disastrous 2016 election result. Perez has received boos on multiple stops during the tour of purple and red states as part of an effort to rebuild the party's grassroots movement.

The most awkward sign of the party's disunity occurred Tuesday night. Sitting right next to Perez, Sanders told MSNBC's Chris Hayes he does not consider himself a Democrat, but rather an independent. Sanders mounted a strong challenge to establishment favorite Hillary Clinton in 2016 for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, despite not identifying as a party member.

After playing the clip, CNN host John King noted how uncomfortable Perez looked as Sanders spoke.

"If you were paying close attention, Chairman Perez was like, where's the door … get me out of here," King said as the rest of the panel laughed. "It's a fun moment and it's good theater, but does it get at the fundamental problem of the party that the guy who came really close in their primaries still does not consider himself a member of the Democratic Party he's out there seemingly trying to rebuild?"

New York Times reporter Peter Baker said it is not clear who the current leader of the Democratic Party is.

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