Bernie Sanders gets flack for embracing Joe Rogan’s endorsement

Bernie Sanders drew criticism Friday for a decision to embrace an unofficial endorsement from the controversial comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan — who some on the left accuse of denigrating gay and transgender rights.

Sanders, who is leading some polls in the important early-voting state of Iowa, tweeted a video clip of Rogan on Thursday saying he would “probably vote for Bernie. He’s been insanely consistent his entire life.” The clip had the campaign’s logo stamped on it.

“Look, you could dig up dirt on every single human being that’s ever existed if you catch them in their worst moment and you magnify those moments,” Rogan continued.

“Deeply disappointing to see you celebrate this,” tweeted Democratic consultant Evan Sutton.

“Joe Rogan talking about his theory that childhood sexual abuse is what makes some people gay. Oh, and he is sharing this theory with the founder of the alt-right Proud Boys. This is the guy Bernie proudly announced as his new endorser yesterday,” tweeted The Horse Whisperer, an anti-Trump poster with 233,000 followers.

“The Sanders campaign must reconsider this endorsement and the decision to publicize the views of someone who has consistently attacked and dehumanized marginalized people, including transgender people,” tweeted Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David.

The post included a clip from Rogan’s podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which is downloaded millions of times each month.

In the show, which is ideologically inconsistent and often veers into territory that is deemed not politically correct, Rogan has interviewed politicians, including Sanders and fellow 2020 rivals Andrew Yang and congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Rogan — a former MMA fighter and host of the TV show “Fear Factor” — has also been accused of criticizing transgender individuals, has said divorce laws are anti-feminist and biased against men, and has argued that a gender-based pay gap does not exist or companies would hire all women to save money.

“Men don’t make more money because they do the same job and make more money at that job than the woman does; they do different jobs,” Rogan said in a 2018 podcast episode.

Sanders spokeswoman Briahna Joy Gray said that building a coalition to beat Trump requires “sharing a big tent” that includes “those who do not share every one of our beliefs, while always making clear that we will never compromise our values.”

The online flap comes as the Vermont senator has been trying to move past a weeks-long controversy over whether he told rival Elizabeth Warren, a friend and progressive ally, in a 2018 meeting that a woman could not beat President Trump, a charge he has denied.

It also came days before Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will appear at campaign rallies with Sanders in Iowa this weekend ahead of the state’s Feb. 3 caucus.

AOC and filmmaker Michael Moore will hold a rally in Iowa City on Friday night featuring singer Mike Posner before touring the Hawkeye state on Saturday with stops in Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls and Marshalltown.

Sanders will later be joined by Ocasio-Cortez and Moore for a rally in Ames on Saturday night also featuring the rock band Portugal. The Man.

The trio also will stump on Sunday at stops in Perry, Storm Lake and Sioux City.

Ocasio-Cortez, a first-term congresswoman who represents parts of Queens and The Bronx, gave him a boost with an endorsement last October when he returned to the campaign trail after suffering a heart attack.

She has not tweeted about the Rogan dispute, and her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

With Wires

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