Sen. Bernie Sanders held his largest rally yet in the key state of New Hampshire on Friday night, joined by Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has faced racist attacks since taking office earlier this year but who received a warm welcome from the crowd of more than 1,300 people.
The rally was reportedly the largest of any Democratic primary candidate in the state so far, according to the campaign; last month, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg reported that he drew “about 1,300” to a rally in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
“The political revolution is strong in New Hampshire,” said Sanders campaign New Hampshire state director Shannon Jackson. “We are seeing incredible enthusiasm from voters across the state. Sanders and Omar represent a vision for the future of economic, racial, environmental, and social justice, and the voters of New Hampshire are on board. The multiethnic working class coalition we are building was on display today and will ultimately lead us to victory on February 11th.”
Omar’s appearance with Sanders came hours after a Washington Examiner op-ed claimed the Vermont senator is running “the most anti-Semitic [campaign] in decades” despite the fact that Sanders’ fathers’ family members were killed in the Holocaust. Omar, one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress and, like Sanders, a vocal critic of Israel’s violations of Palestinians’ human rights, was named as an example of the senator’s allyship with anti-Semites.
The editorial raised alarm among progressives concerned that anti-Sanders groups could level the same attacks that weakened outgoing British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign in Thursday’s general election—but the New Hampshire crowd showed enthusiasm for Omar’s appearance.
“It’s not an issue. It doesn’t bother me in the least,” one attendee, Fred Voelker of Franklin, N.H., told the Concord Monitor of Omar’s participation.
Sanders referred to claims of Omar’s anti-Semitism in a tweet about her appearence with him in Nashua as well as at events across the state.
In her comments while introducing the senator, Omar offered a defense of Sanders’ so-called “radical” agenda aimed at passing Medicare for All, creating jobs and eliminating fossil fuel emissions through the Green New Deal, and forcing the wealthiest Americans and corporations to pay a fair share of their income to narrow the wealth gap.
“If believing that 500,000 Americans should not be forced into medical bankruptcy every single year is radical, than we’re proud to be radical,” Omar said.
Watch Sanders’ and Omar’s comments in their entirety below: