Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Friday condemned the raucous outbursts that broke out outside a San Jose, California rally for Donald Trump, calling the violence “absolutely and totally unacceptable.”
“If people are thinking about violence, please do not tell anybody you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, because those are not the supporters that I want,” the Vermont senator said.
The scene outside the San Jose Convention Center dissolved into chaos late Thursday as Trump protesters and supporters locked horns. Several Trump fans were physically assaulted and one woman was pelted with eggs.
Though the scattered riots were unrelated to the Sanders campaign, video clips showed a few protesters chanting “Bernie” as they heckled Trump’s supporters.
“I understand how reprehensible and disgraceful Donald Trump’s positions are; how ignorant they are,” Sanders said. “I can understand the anger, I surely can, because I feel it.”
“The bigotry that is coming out of his mouth,” he continued. “The insults to the Mexican community, the Latino community, the Muslim community, and women, and African-Americans and veterans. I understand the anger. But we are not going to defeat Trump by throwing eggs or getting involved in violence of any kind. We defeat Trump when we stand together as one people and fight for a progressive agenda. Educate. Organize. Bring out large numbers of people.”
Hillary Clinton also condemned the violence on Friday, though she said Trump himself was to blame for fostering a hostile environment at his campaign events.
“He set a bad example,” Clinton said on CNN. “He created an environment in which it seemed to be acceptable for someone running for president to be inciting violence, to be encouraging his supporters. Now we are seeing people who are against it respond in kind.”