Bernie Sanders reaffirmed on Saturday that he makes "no apologies" for his opposition to the Iraq war—and a possible future one in Iran—and took a jab at one of the Iraq war's star cheerleaders.
The Democratic presidential candidate was in Vermont for his 2020 campaign's first rally in his adopted home state and spoke to a crowd of at least 1,500 on the steps of the state capitol.
Sanders's speech followed efforts by some corporate media outlets to portray his anti-war stance as worthy of apology, a narrative he shot down in a short video last week.
"Yes, as a young man, along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others, I marched against the war in Vietnam," Sanders said Saturday in Montpelier. "I make no apologies for having opposed that war."
"As a member of the House of Representatives," he added, "I helped lead he opposition to the war in Iraq." That war, said Sanders, "turned out to be the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of our country and has led to the destabilization of that entire region with more war, more death, and more suffering."
"I make no apology for leading the effort against the war in Iraq," he said.
Sanders pointed also to his recent action as a U.S. senator introducing a War Powers resolution to stop U.S. military support for "the horrific Saudi-led intervention in Yemen."
"I make no apologies to anyone for trying to end that horrible war," said Sanders.
His opposition to war is ongoing, he added, pointing to the president and national security advisor's push towards war with Iran.
"This minute I am doing everything I can... to prevent Donald Trump and John Bolton from taking us into a war which would be, in my view, much more destructive—if you can believe it—than the war in Iraq."
A war with Iran, said Sanders, "could lead us, literally, to perpetual warfare in that region. I make no apologies for trying to do everything that I can to make sure this country does not get into another war in the Middle East."
The Sanders campaign also highlighted that section of the roughly hour-long speech on Twitter.
I make no apologies for protesting the war in Vietnam. I make no apologies for helping to lead the opposition to t… https://t.co/sFYmDUess6— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1558815892.0
Less than hours after posting that video, the campaign shot down right-wing pundit and Iraq war cheerleader Bill Kristol.
"Have you apologized to the nation for your foolish advocacy of the Iraq war?" Sanders asked Kristol. "I make no apologies for opposing it."
Have you apologized to the nation for your foolish advocacy of the Iraq war? I make no apologies for opposing it. https://t.co/rw22Ovs4d9— Bernie Sanders (@Bernie Sanders)1558824853.0