Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has invited a controversial activist and journalist who has asserted that white men who like guns are compensating for “small penises and low sex drive” to campaign for him at historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) across the U.S.
The journalist-activist, New York Daily News columnist Shaun King, made the announcement on social media on Friday. He said that he will attend Sanders campaign events held at HBCUs along with Cornel West, a prominent left-wing professor and activist, and other grassroots activists.
Sanders’ campaign announced earlier this month that it was embarking on a “Feel the Bern” HBCU tour, with special emphasis on South Carolina, a crucial battleground state.
Listen, we don't have a lot of time. I'll be joining @BernieSanders at HBCU's around the country. Iowa votes in 16 days. NH 7 days later
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 15, 2016
King, who rose to national prominence as an online activist following the Michael Brown shooting, issued the announcement hours after he published a Daily News column officially endorsing Sanders, who is mounting a surprise challenge of front-runner Hillary Clinton. Both candidates have focused on criminal justice reform on the campaign trail in an attempt to appeal to young activists and African-American voters.
It is unclear how prominent a role King will play in the campaign. Sanders’ press shop confirmed to The Daily Caller that King would contribute. But campaign spokeswoman Symone Sanders (no relation to Bernie) did not respond when asked if King will appear at events with Sanders. Buzzfeed News reported earlier this month on the HBCU-targeted “Feel the Bern” initiative and said that some campaigners will appear at events as surrogates for the 74-year-old democratic socialist.
Asked whether Sanders felt comfortable associating himself with a controversial figure like King, Symone Sanders defending the relationship.
“Senator Sanders cannot possibly be expected to agree with everything someone who supports him says or does and vice versa,” she told TheDC. “The beauty of the political revolution is people can come together on common ground. For Mr. King, that common ground is the senator’s plans for reforming our broken criminal justice system.”
In his endorsement at the Daily News, King invoked Martin Luther King, Jr., who was born 87 years ago Friday. Sanders, said King, “most embodies the values and ideals of the man who scared the hell out of the American government and was assassinated in 1968 after so bravely fighting against the Vietnam War and for income equality. “King has been at the epicenter of several controversies.
Several prominent Black Lives Matter activists publicly broke with him in November after volunteers and donors to charities he started voiced frustration at how the organizations were being operated.
And following a Daily Caller report which found that some of the charities that King has touted in the past appear to never have been officially created, King closed down his most recent operation, Justice Together, and announced he would be returning all donations. Liberal activist and author Goldie Taylor also criticized King, asking in a column at The Daily Beast how he spent money he’s raised through his various fundraising efforts. (RELATED: Charities Touted By Shaun King Appear To Never Have Existed)
King has also lashed out at gun ownership and what he called a “white male obsession” with guns. In an inflammatory Twitter diatribe last month he asserted that white men like guns as “compensation for small penises & low sex drive.”
King may have been the one who was compensating, however. In now-deleted tweets, King, a former pastor in Atlanta, bragged about owning a 9 mm handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets. In one tweet he wrote that having a loaded gun — which he called a “hand cannon” — next to his bed “makes me feel pretty safe.”
In another, he wrote that when he was out with his gun “damn near nothing scares me.”
And as TheDC found, King was forced to resign from his job at Morehouse College, a historically black college in Atlanta, in 2006 because he brandished his gun on campus. King wrote in a self-help book published last year that he was trying to drive through a crowd gathered at an on-campus party when a man approached the driver’s side of his car. King wrote that he put his gun on the dashboard to scare the man away. (RELATED: Shaun King Was Fired From His Job At Morehouse College For Brandishing A Gun)
He was later forced to leave the job.