MANCHESTER, N.H. – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders returned on Friday to the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House with freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, the high-profile and progressive firebrand member of Congress.
After introducing Sanders at a campaign event at Southern New Hampshire University, the populist senator from Vermont called the controversial Minnesota lawmaker “one of the most extraordinary people in American politics.”
It was the congresswoman’s first time on the campaign trail with Sanders since she formally endorsed his Democratic presidential nomination bid at a rally in Minneapolis last month.
In her speech introducing Sanders, the congresswoman highlighted how she and Sanders have been labeled by the media and many political pundits as radicals.
“If believing that 500,000 Americans should not be forced into medical bankruptcy every single year is radical, then we’re proud to be radical,” Omar said as she continued to list a number of examples of why “we should all be proud to be radicals.”
Omar is a member of a group of first-term female progressive House members of color who are collectively known as "the Squad." In addition to Omar, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have also endorsed Sanders.
The fourth member of the group -- Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts -- has endorsed Sanders' populist rival for the nomination, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Pressley was set to speak later Friday at the same event where Sanders and Omar were also speaking: an awards and fundraising gala for the New Hampshire Young Democrats.
Omar has repeatedly been embroiled in controversy during her brief tenure in Congress -- including over comments about Israel and Jewish Americans that many Republicans and some Democrats considered anti-Semitic. Her comments have also created division among Democrats regarding U.S. policy toward Israel.
There were no demonstrations against Omar at the Southern New Hampshire University event, and people in the mostly pro-Sanders crowd that Fox News spoke to didn’t appear concerned or bothered that the senator was accompanied by the controversial congresswoman.
On the eve of the arrival of Sanders and Omar in New Hampshire, the state GOP issued a statement from a Republican state representative criticizing state Democrats.
"New Hampshire Democrats have really gone too far," Rep. Judy Aron said. "By bringing noted anti-Semite and opponent of Israel Rep. Ilhan Omar to New Hampshire, Democrats are showing how anti-Israel the modern Democrat base is.”
Sanders mostly delivered his standard stump speech, but he did take aim at President Trump over climate change -- specifically at the Republican incumbent’s criticism on Thursday of Greta Thunberg, the teen climate change activist who was named Time’s Person of the Year.
Trump, who was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2016 and was on the shortlist for this year’s honors, took to Twitter to mock the Swedish teenager after she beat him out for the honor.
“So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!” Trump tweeted.
Thunberg, who has Asperger's syndrome, has spoken publicly about the social challenges it creates.
Taking aim at Trump at his event in New Hampshire, Sanders said: “On this issue, what he is doing by claiming that climate change is a hoax, by actually attacking Greta Thunberg -- what he is doing is not only endangering our country but the entire world."
Sanders' mention of Trump’s jab at Thunberg elicited boos from the crowd.