A surrogate for Donald Trump said Bernie Sanders was an atheist who needed a “come to Jesus” meeting.
Pastor Mark Burns, a televangelist, was warming up a crowd Monday at a rally for Trump in Hickory, North Carolina, a day before primaries in that state and four others.
“Bernie Sanders, who doesn’t believe in God, how in the world are we gonna let Bernie … really?” Burns said as the crowd waited for the arrival of Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential race. “He gotta meet Jesus, he gotta have a coming to Jesus meeting.”
Burns did not respond to a query from JTA on Twitter about whether he knew Sanders is Jewish. He later told CNN that his remarks were not aimed at Sanders’ Judaism.
Sanders “is most definitely not a religious-minded individual,” he said. “Obviously, if he was ever elected president he would be the first non-Christian, and that’s not an issue that he is not a Christian, so to speak, so this is not anything bad about the Jewish people.”