WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders rescinded his endorsement of progressive talk show host Cenk Uygur for a congressional seat Friday following criticism of Uygur’s past derogatory remarks about women.
Sanders initially endorsed Uygur Thursday for his “strong support” for Medicare for All and said Uygur was “a voice that we desperately need in Congress and will be a great representative for CA-25 and the country.”
Uygur, 49, is the founder of the liberal YouTube political news show The Young Turks and is campaigning to fill the congressional seat recently vacated by Rep. Katie Hill. Uygur endorsed Sanders for both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections.
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Critics of Sanders’ endorsement, as well as endorsements from Sanders’ campaign co-chair Nina Turner and prominent supporter Rep. Ro Khanna, pointed to several of Uygur’s past comments.
In a 1999 blog post first reported by The Wrap, Uygur wrote, “Obviously, the genes of women are flawed. They are poorly designed creatures who do not want to have sex nearly as often as needed for the human race to get along peaceably and fruitfully.”
In a 2013 episode of The Young Turks, Uygur ranked women on a scale of 1 to 10 based on how likely men would be to have them perform oral sex.
Sanders wrote on Twitter Friday that he heard his “supporters who were frustrated and understand their concerns. Cenk today said he is rejecting all endorsements for his campaign and I retract my endorsement.”
.@cenkuygur has been a longtime fighter against corruption. However, our movement is bigger than any one person. I hear my supporters who were frustrated and understand their concerns. Cenk today said he is rejecting all endorsements for his campaign and I retract my endorsement.
Uygur declared Friday that his campaign would refuse all endorsement moving forward.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the endorsements of Bernie Sanders, Ro Khanna, Nina Turner and local progressive groups that gave me their support. Their stance took real courage in the face of the corporate media and Democratic establishment onslaught,” Uygur said on Twitter.
Uygur has apologized and disavowed his past comments, telling CNN in an interview last month that he while he wrote“that stuff 19 years ago,” he “deleted it 15 years ago not because I got caught, or because I thought somebody was going to find it, I deleted it because I didn’t believe it anymore. … This is not me. I was trying to be a stupid, politically incorrect Republican. So I wrote these things I knew were offensive.”
The race for California’s 25th Congressional District is becoming crowded. One of the candidates who has filed paperwork to run is former Donald Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The district encompasses parts of northern Los Angeles County and extends into Ventura County, and was represented by Republicans for more than two decades prior to Hill’s 2018 victory. It is now a hotly contested seat for both Democrats and Republicans leading into the election.
Khanna tweeted that he also is retracting his endorsement of Uygur, stating that “his statements were wrong and hurtful which he has acknowledged. Genuine thanks to all who made their views heard. Lets continue to fight in a broad coalition for progressive values.”
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