Bernie Sanders’ campaign is dismissing sexism charges against Killer Mike, an Atlanta-based rapper, as “gotcha” politics.
It all started when Killer Mike, an outspoken Sanders supporter, spoke at a rally for the Vermont senator in Atlanta on Tuesday, where he quoted activist Jane Elliott as having told him, “Michael, a uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president of the United States,” a remark that was widely seen as sexist against Hillary Clinton, but that the rapper says was taken out of context.
Sanders’ campaign did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But on Wednesday, a spokesman for Sanders’ campaign, Michael Briggs, told The Guardian that Killer Mike, “doesn’t believe gender should be a reason to vote for or against someone.”
Briggs went on to say, “That’s the point Mike was making when he quoted Jane Elliott, the internationally known educator,” adding that “we need to get beyond the gotcha politics and get to the issues at the heart of the election.”
The issue has gained traction as Sanders and Clinton fight to win over African-American voters in the South Carolina primary. Killer Mike has become known as one of the most progressive voices in hip-hop for his nuanced takes on police shootings, income inequality globalization and other issues.
During his speech on Tuesday, the rapper referred to Clinton as “the other Democrat” and said she seems to advocate a slower approach on social issues than Sanders.
“When people tell us, ‘Hold on, wait awhile.’ And that’s what the other Democrat is telling you,” Killer Mike said. “‘Hold on, Black Lives Matter. Just wait awhile.’ ‘Hold on, young people in this country, just wait awhile.’ And then, and then she — she get good, she have your own mama come to you. Your own mama say to you, ‘Well, you’re a woman.’ … But I talked to Jane Elliott a few weeks ago, and Jane said, ‘Michael, a uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president of the United States. You have to be — you have to have policy that’s reflective of social justice.'”