Sanders and Beto Heckled at Women of Color Forum

April 25, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and former Texas representative Robert Francis 'Beto' O'Rourke were heckled at a progressive women of color forum Wednesday.

Sanders and O'Rourke, both white and male, were among several Democratic candidates for president to speak at the She the People presidential forum. The organization describes itself as "a national network connecting women of color to transform our democracy."

Whereas Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) had "some breakthrough moments," as MSNBC's Hallie Jackson put it, Sanders and O'Rourke struggled.

"Both got a little less than warm reception from the roughly 1,500 black, Latino, Asian, Native American, Arab American women in the room, with Sanders at one point even getting heckled," Jackson said.

The Vermont socialist and independent drew derisive laughter when pointing to his record on race. He reminded the audience that he marched with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., drawing hoots from the crowd.

"Black women will be an integral part of what our campaign and our administration is about," he said over boos and shouts.

O'Rourke received similar treatment. When asked what he had to offer women of color, he hesitated. "So," he said before pausing. Laughter quickly filled the gap.

Warren, meanwhile, got a far warmer reception, with Yahoo! News crediting her with one of the best answers of the day.

Moderators asked the junior senator from Massachusetts what she would say to women nervous about nominating another woman who would lose to a man.

"Here's how I see this. I'll tell you how I see it," Warren said, drawing approval from the audience. "We got a room full of people here who weren't given anything. We got a room full of people here who had to fight for what they believe in. We have a room full of people here who had to reach down deep, no matter how hard it was, no matter how scary it looked. They found what they needed to find and they brought it up and they took care of the people they loved."