During a pre-kickoff Super Bowl interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Sunday, President Donald Trump said “communist” was the first thing that came to mind when asked for his thoughts on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a top contender for the Democrat Party’s 2020 nomination.
Folks on the ideological left and in the media shouldn’t get too bent out of shape over Trump’s application of that pejorative to Sanders, as the openly-proclaimed socialist senator has willingly embraced the “communist” label in the past, according to the Washington Examiner.
When asked about Sanders during the interview with Hannity, Trump replied, “Well, I think he’s a communist. Look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie. You could say socialist, but didn’t he get married in Moscow?”
“I think of Bernie sort of as a socialist but far beyond a socialist,” he added. “At least he’s true to what he believes, that’s one thing.”
But while that may have been taken as an insult by most Americans, especially on the right, it is actually something of a badge of honor among certain circles on the left, and it is one Sanders was once proud to wear publicly.
Bernie: “I don’t mind” being called communist
The Washington Examiner reported that in 1972, when Sanders was running for governor in Vermont as the nominee of the socialist Liberty Union Party, he was accused of being a left-wing radical during a campaign event at a high school in the town of Rutland.
Sanders reportedly dismissed the intended insult and replied, “I don’t mind people coming up and calling me a communist.”
To be sure, Sanders doesn’t typically tout himself as being a communist, but as the Examiner noted, he nevertheless has long maintained ties to pro-Marxist groups and has openly described himself as a socialist for decades — something many might argue is a minor distinction without much of a difference.
Socialist bona fides
As Trump alluded in his Super Bowl interview, though he was slightly mistaken on the details, Sanders spent his honeymoon with his new wife Jane in Moscow and other locales within the Soviet Union in 1988, and he is on record as having defended and even extolled the virtues of the communist regime at that time.
In the 1970s, Sanders was aligned with the openly socialist Liberty Union Party and with the Socialist Workers Party in the 1980s when he endorsed the party’s candidates and embraced its anti-American platform.
On top of that, it was also recently revealed that, while serving as mayor of Burlington, Sanders had a personal relationship with Soviet Embassy First Secretary Vadim Kuznetsov, who sent Sanders a congratulatory letter to mark his re-election after having attended a conference in Burlington a few days prior.
Bernie Sanders wants to impose socialism upon the American people, and while he and his supporters may attempt to dress it up by adding “democratic” to the front of the term, Sanders is indeed a communist, which isn’t a label that any American should ever take pride in wearing.