Former Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has implored his followers to keep from descending into violence during anti-Donald Trump protests taking place across the country.
Taking a hard line on keeping demonstrations peaceful, Sanders, who supports both the anti-Trump protests and calls to dismantle the Electoral College and declare Hillary Clinton the election winner, said that reports of beatings, arson, and property damage do little to draw sympathy to the progressive cause.
“Any person who is a Bernie Sanders supporter, please, do not in any way, shape or form engage in violence,” the senator from Vermont told CNN.
Sanders seemed to fulfill calls from Trump’s high-profile allies like Kellyanne Conway, who had asked Sanders, President Obama, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to denounce what she called “professional protests” against the Republican President-elect.
The President-elect himself, Donald Trump, issued a much weaker call to peace on CBS‘s 60 Minutes Sunday night, telling his supporters, who have been criticised for a series of harassment incidents targeting minorities and Muslims, to “stop it.”
“I am so saddened to hear that,” Trump told interviewer Lesley Stahl. “And I say, ‘Stop it.’ If it — if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.'”
He went on, however, to couch his statements by claiming that the protests were professional and organized, and that they did not represent the majority of Americans, and that he’s only heard of “one or two” incidents where his supporters have used racial slurs.
The comparison between the two politicians is intriguing, as Sanders appears to be setting himself up as a foil to Trump’s “working class” agenda, and block of support.
Sanders, of course, has noted several times since election day that he intends to be a vocal force within the Democratic party, particularly in light of the party’s loss of white, working class voters to the GOP, a trend he said he found, “disturbing.” He is already wielding his influence in the race for DNC chair and says he’s open to running for President again in 2020, when he’ll be a spry 80 years old.