Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) took heat from journalists this week for comments about how race may have impacted white voters' decisions in Tuesday's midterm elections.
Speaking about white voters' attitude towards black gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum of Florida and Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Sanders told The Daily Beast, "I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American."
Sanders' statement was criticized by members of the media, the Burlington Free Press reports. They pointed out Sanders was effectively saying white voters were racist by not voting for the black candidates because they were "uncomfortable."
PBS's White House correspondent and MSNBC contributor Yamiche Alcindor criticized Sanders' remarks, tweeting, "Many would define not supporting someone based solely on race as racist."
.@BernieSanders says some people aren’t "necessarily racist" but were "uncomfortable" voting for people because they were black. Many would define not supporting someone based solely on race as racist. https://t.co/lxbmIha8pF
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) November 8, 2018
Wesley Lowery, national reporter at the Washington Post added, "If voting for a black person makes you uncomfortable you are racist."
If voting for a black person makes you uncomfortable you are racist. https://t.co/t98YfE48Iw
— Wesley (@WesleyLowery) November 8, 2018
Gillum currently trails Republican Ron DeSantis by about 36,000 votes in Florida's race for the governor's mansion, although the results could be subject to a recount. Abrams trails Republican Brian Kemp by about 64,000 votes in Georgia.
Sanders endorsed both candidates in their respective gubernatorial races.