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Sanders Supporters Say DNC’s Treatment of Surrogate Nina Turner Makes Calls for Unity “Fall Flat”

Web ExclusiveAugust 01, 2016
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A prominent Bernie Sanders surrogate says she was kicked off the Democratic National Convention program by the Clinton campaign. Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner was reportedly scheduled to participate in the nomination process of Sanders before the roll call vote on Tuesday. But when she arrived at the convention that afternoon, Turner saw that nobody from the Democratic Party was there to greet her or facilitate her appearance. Turner told Mother Jones she heard from Sanders that the Clinton campaign did not want her on the stage. At a press conference at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday, Nina Turner’s supporters gathered to express their solidarity with her, saying this was just the latest slight to the entire Sanders movement. The group included actors Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Rosario Dawson. Inside the convention hall, many Sanders delegates donned stickers reading “I’m with Nina.” They said this is not the only time their voices have been silenced by the Clinton campaign; they claim the Clinton crowd is dismissing the entire Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. On Wednesday, Democracy Now!’s Deena Guzder and Elizabeth Press filed this report.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, our special edition, “Breaking with Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency.” We’re broadcasting from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. I’m Amy Goodman.

A prominent Bernie Sanders surrogate says she was kicked off the Democratic National Convention program by the Clinton campaign. Former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner was reportedly scheduled to participate in the nomination process of Sanders before the roll call vote on Tuesday. But when she arrived at the convention that afternoon, Turner saw that nobody from the Democratic Party was there to greet her or facilitate her appearance on the stage. Turner told Mother Jones she heard from Sanders the Clinton campaign did not want her on the stage. She later explained to MSNBC what happened.

NINA TURNER: I was supposed to be one of the nominators for Senator Sanders—

CHUCK TODD: For Bernie Sanders.

NINA TURNER: —yesterday, along with Congresswoman Tulsi, and, at the last minute, was told that I could not do it. The senator, Sanders, told me that himself—for reasons that I will not comment on.

CHUCK TODD: Fair enough.

NINA TURNER: But I’ve been nothing but, you know, gracious. I was a hard fighter for my candidate, you know? So, it was pretty hurtful.

CHUCK TODD: And some Sanders supporters are pretty upset about this.

NINA TURNER: Yeah, they are very upset about it, because, you know, I’m about pushing forward. I’m going to hold people accountable. But I get it. I’m a Democrat in good standing. And it was just really unfortunate, especially on a night where African-American women were all on that stage, and we’re talking about giving voice to women and girls.

CHUCK TODD: Nobody else gave you an explanation except Senator Sanders?

NINA TURNER: And then—and then my voice—Senator Sanders had to give me the bad news.

AMY GOODMAN: At a news conference at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday, Nina Turner’s supporters gathered to express their solidarity with her, saying this was just the latest slight to the entire Sanders movement. The group included actors Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Rosario Dawson. Inside the convention hall, many Sanders delegates donned stickers reading “I’m with Nina.” They said this is not the only time their voices have been silenced by the Clinton campaign. They claim the campaign is dismissing the entire Sanders wing of the Democratic Party. On Wednesday, Democracy Now!’s Deena Guzder and Elizabeth Press filed this report.

MARTHA KUHL: My name’s Martha Kuhl, and I’m secretary treasurer of National Nurses United.

DEENA GUZDER: What does the sticker on your shirt say?

MARTHA KUHL: “I’m with Nina.”

DEENA GUZDER: And what does that refer to?

MARTHA KUHL: Nina Turner, who was a former state senator from Ohio, was very active as a leader in the Sanders campaign. And National Nurses United, we’ve been working together in the movement to get Bernie elected, and are continuing to work together with the movement for social and economic justice. Yesterday, Nina Turner was supposed to, along with Tulsi Gabbard, put Sanders’ name into nomination before the roll call, and she was told she couldn’t do it. The fact that they wish to silence a major spokesperson of the campaign makes their calls for unity fall very flat.

GABRIEL SILVA: My name is Gabriel Silva. I’m a delegate from Houston, Texas, and I stand with Bernie Sanders. In a democracy, there has to be room for dissent. You don’t have democracy without dissent. We’re all facing censorship. Just today, they’re telling us that if we hold up a Bernie sign, we have one warning; if we do it again, we’re getting kicked out and getting our credentials stripped. Basically, that makes me feel that what the party is telling us is that they don’t want our votes in November, they don’t need our votes in November, and as far as they’re concerned, we can be kicked out to the curb. And they’re encouraging disunity in this party while trying to force us to unify around Hillary Clinton, while at the same time they want us to simply sit down and shut up.

BLAINE RUMMEL: Blaine Rummel. I’m not a delegate; I’m just an observer. Look, I think a lot of people are passionate about Bernie Sanders. I understand that. But Bernie Sanders, his issues are winning. And so, I don’t quite understand people who say that—that they’re being silenced. I think that they aren’t being silenced. I think the people who believe in what Bernie Sanders is saying, they’re winning. And I think if you look at the platform of the DNC, it’s clear they’re winning. So I don’t understand people who wear tape on their mouths and then rip it off and say they’re being silenced, so they can talk to the media. I think that’s very disingenuous.

I did take the tape off my mouth to talk to the press, because people need to hear what’s going on right now. So…

ALEXIS EDELSTEIN: My name is Alexis Edelstein. I’m a delegate for California for the District 33, and I’m a Bernie delegate.

DEENA GUZDER: Who was speaking, and what happened here at the DNC right now?

ALEXIS EDELSTEIN: The former director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, was speaking. The Oregon delegation started to chant “No more war!” All the Bernie delegations, all 57 of them, states and territories, chanted “No more war!” with them. As soon as that kept going and going, the DNC shut off the lights to the Oregon delegation, almost as a way of showing that they want to silence them.

DEENA GUZDER: Why did this action happen when Panetta was speaking, in particular?

ALEXIS EDELSTEIN: The “No More War” action, plus, as you know, Leon Panetta is CIA. The CIA, you know, it’s supporting foreign wars nonstop, continuously, also initiating drone wars. Hillary Clinton is a warmonger. Hillary Clinton wants to continue all the wars in the Middle East. Hillary Clinton is with Israel on the Palestinian issue. We are for a free Palestine. Hillary Clinton wants to continue all acts of foreign insurgency. And Hillary Clinton, as the secretary of state, was also responsible in supporting the coup in Honduras. Myself being from Argentina, I’m very sensitive to Latin and South American issues. I was born under a military dictatorship in Argentina that was supported by Henry Kissinger. And Hillary Clinton is a supporter of Henry Kissinger. So, that’s why we’re very antiwar, anti-Hillary Clinton. Half of the budget goes to the war budget, to the defense budget, and that really sacrifices what else we can invest in infrastructure, education, healthcare, all the things that this country is lacking and that—what Bernie Sanders is fighting for.

PROTESTERS: No TPP! No TPP! No TPP!

ALEX WHITE: Alex White. I’m from Congressional District 13 in Califoria. So, we’re assigned to simultaneously show respect for President Obama while also protesting the disastrous trade deal that he has pushed through. And we think that it will be absolutely devastating to 40 percent of the global economy and citizens all over the world.

DEENA GUZDER: Why are you personally opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP?

ALEX WHITE: In October, when the full text released and it was made known to the public that there was a death sentence clause in it, that would basically mean that pharmaceutical companies would have a 20-year monopoly on medications, that would cause a single medication to cost anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 a year. My wife was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer three years ago, and I have to do it for her and everybody who is diagnosed with cancer. I mean, that’s why—I don’t want to mean any disrespect to President Obama, but I’ve got to stand up for people who are diagnosed with cancer. When they’re fighting for their lives, they shouldn’t have to fight to afford their medications.

ROBERT SHEARER: My name’s Robert Shearer, and I’m a California at-large delegate for Senator Sanders.

DEENA GUZDER: And what’s happened here tonight at the Democratic National Convention?

ROBERT SHEARER: I think what we’re seeing here at the convention, where all of these—all of these delegates are trying to act together in solidarity to stand against the TPP and fracking, is that the Democratic Party establishment and the Clinton delegates that are here with us are telling us that we’re here to divide this party further. And they’re insinuating that we’re here to deepen this rift. But the fact is, by our highlighting these concerns that are the cause of the actual rift in this party, we’re continuing important conversations. I think everybody agrees: When we ignore problems, they get worse.

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The DNC Protests You Didn’t See on TV: Sanders Delegates Chant and Walk Out on Clinton Speech

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