Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told CNN on Sunday that he doesn’t think he needs to apologize to the Black Lives Matter movement after members of the group forced him offstage at a campaign stop in Seattle. But one of his staffers already did so.
In an email obtained by BuzzFeed news, Sanders’ African-American outreach director, Marcus Ferrell, told Black Lives Matter leadership that he was sorry “it took our campaign so long to officially reach out,” and asked to kick off a formal dialogue. Sanders told Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that the email was sent “without my knowledge” and that his campaign was going to be working “with all groups.”
Sanders has come under fire from Black Lives Matter activists who say he isn’t paying enough attention to issues important to the black community, like police reform. At last week’s campaign stop in Seattle, Marissa Janae Johnson, one of the co-founders of the group’s local chapter, accused Sanders of espousing a “white supremacist liberalism.”
Sanders clarified on “Meet the Press” that he wanted to reach out to a wide coalition of liberal groups, including Latinos, seniors, and union members, but that he deeply cared about black issues.
“Let me be very clear: the issue that they’re raising is a very, very important one. And there’s no candidate for president that would be stronger in fighting against institutional racism and, by the way, reforming a broken criminal justice system.”