MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MA – Former president Barack Obama went on the attack today, accusing senator Bernie Sanders of being a Kenyan-born Muslim and releasing a grainy photograph of the candidate wearing a turban and traditional African clothing. The move comes after several recent polls show Sanders inching ahead of former vice president Joe Biden in the democratic primary race.
While Obama has remained on the sidelines through most of the primary, political experts long expected the former president to intervene if Sanders’ popularity reached a certain level.
“Look, I have a team that’s been investigating hospital records all around Brooklyn, and we’ve been unable to find any proof that Bernie Sanders was actually born in Brooklyn, or even in the United States,” said Obama, adding “we also haven’t found anyone who can confirm he’s a Jew. I think this photo proves that Bernie’s actually a Muslim who was born in Kenya.”
Obama also stated that he found a credible source in Kenya with evidence that Sanders’ father, Elias Ben Yehuda Sanders, traveled to Mombassa, then part of British East Africa, in late 1940 and engaged in an affair with a young Kenyan woman. Obama alleges that after Sanders’ birth, Yehuda Sanders traveled back to America with young Bernard and took up residence in Brooklyn.
Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden responded to the claims, saying “there is compelling evidence that Bernie Sanders was born in Kenya, and until we see his long-form birth certificate, we won’t know the truth. And while being a Muslim doesn’t necessarily disqualify him for president, I think it’s best that Sanders drop out of the race. This sort of controversy only helps Trump.”
The attack by Obama comes days after rival Elizabeth Warren accused Sanders of sexism, claiming he told her in a private 2018 meeting that a woman can’t win [the presidency], a claim Sanders has denied. More recently, Biden accused Sanders in a campaign video of lying about his record on social security, and former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told Hollywood Reporter that “no one likes Bernie”.
“These baseless attacks were expected,” Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir told BeetPress. “The establishment is pulling out all the stops to prevent Bernie Sanders from getting the nomination. It’s stupid, desperate, and it’s not going to work. Besides, even if Bernie was Muslim, would that even matter?”
President Donald Trump reacted to the news by tweeting “heard Crazy Bernie’s Muslim and Born in Kenya. Sending team To investigate.”
Despite the allegations, a new WBUR/MassINC poll shows that Sanders has surged into first place in the New Hampshire primary with 29%.