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Sanders Co-Chair and Dem Strategist Clash in Explosive Debate: ‘How Dare You as a White Woman’ Tell Me What I’m Supposed to Feel!

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Nina Turner, the campaign co-chair for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), got into a heated clash with Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen Thursday night on CNN over words written Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The comments at issue were penned by Dr. King in a letter from Birmingham city jail in April 1963. This passage serves as something of a summary:

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

Thursday night on Cuomo Prime Time, Turner referenced the letter while arguing that when Bernie Sanders speaks of Democratic Socialism, he’s referring to Democratic Socialism in the mold of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“It’s very much in the tradition of President FDR,” Turner said. “That is the kind of Democratic Socialism that [Sanders is] talking about, even though [FDR] didn’t call it that … It’s in the spirit of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who, in his letter to the Birmingham jail, warned us — us being the black community — about white moderates.”

Several minutes later, Rosen doubled back to Dr. King’s letter, claiming that Turner had misquoted the civil rights leader.

“That’s actually not what Dr. King said,” Rosen said.

“He did say that!” Turner said.

“What he said was we should be worried about the silence of white moderates,” Rosen said.

Simultaneously, Turner said: “How are you going to tell me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Are you kidding me?”

From there, Rosen launched into a defense of Joe Biden — who, she argued, has not been silent on various issues over the years. When she ceded the floor, Turner revisited Dr. King’s letter.

“He said it is the point that the white moderate wants things to be comfortable,” Turner said. “And instead of focusing in on that, the bigger threat is not necessarily the white KKK member but more the white moderate that is more comfortable with keeping things the same.”

Rosen interjected.

“You know what? Don’t use Martin Luther King against Joe Biden!” Rosen said. “You don’t have that standing. I’m sorry. You don’t!”

“Don’t tell me what kind of standing I have as a black woman in America!” Turner fired back. “How dare you!”

“You have a lot of standing as a black woman in America,” Rosen replied. “You don’t have the standing to attack Joe Biden using Martin Luther King’s words.”

“I didn’t attack anybody. You’re taking it that way,” Turner said. “Listen, don’t dip into what I have to say about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.! How dare you, as a white woman, sit up here and try to tell me what I’m supposed to feel, and what I’m doing right now!”

Watch above, via CNN.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo