For his first late-night appearance as a presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) kept things on the serious side with Stephen Colbert, defending his socialist record and making his case for economic fairness. A few days later, he had a “soul food sit-down” with Larry Wilmore, during which he imitated the title character from Weekend at Bernie’s and tried out the phrase “on fleek.”
This week, Sanders finally visited late night’s most-watched show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he gamely let loose alongside the perpetually silly host.
But first, they had something important to discuss: Donald Trump’s plan to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.
“What are your comments or what is your take on what he is doing?” Fallon asked the Democratic candidate early in the interview.
Sanders did not hold back. “Throughout history we’ve had the demagogues trying to divert attention away from the real issues,” he said. “What somebody like Trump is trying to do is to divide us up. A few months ago we were supposed to hate Mexicans, and he thinks they are all criminals and rapists. And now we are supposed to hate Muslims, and that kind of crap is not going to work in the United States of America.”
“I think what the American people understand given the problems that we face, we’ve got to stand together, come together and create decent life for all of our people and stop this scapegoating of one group or another,” Sanders continued, pivoting to his preferred wheelhouse of economic policy.
Looking past the Democratic primary, Sanders said, “I look forward to beating Donald Trump. I will enjoy that race very, very much.”
“But first we’ve got to get past Secretary Clinton,” he admitted, “and I think we will do that as well.”
Of course, this being Fallon’s Tonight Show, the pair had to play a game as well. We were spared the vision of Sanders slow jamming the news with The Roots, but we did get to see him engage in a “Whisper Challenge” with the host. With noise-canceling headphones on, Sanders still managed to make out “Feel the Bern.”