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Watch Bernie Sanders Shut Down a Homophobic House Member in This Video From 1995

by Katie Felber Gabriel Reilich

January 19, 2016

This is one for the books. During a memorable House floor meeting that originally aired on C-SPAN in 1995, Bernie Sanders showcased his true colors when he went on live television slamming Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham for his hateful comments about homosexuals in the military.

Also of note is the incredible “parliamentary” zinger from Democratic Rep. Patricia Schroeder in response to Cunningham’s remarks. 

This exchange took place nearly two decades ago, when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the law of the land. Since then, one member in this exchange has gone on to run a spirited campaign for president, while the other was forced to resign from Congress and was subsequently jailed for accepting bribes.

Bernie jumps in at the 1:00 mark. Take a look:

Right after Cunningham remarks, “Is there any shocking doubt that the same [people] that would put homos in the military, NO I will not sit down you socialist!”—Schroeder raises the question “Do we have to call the gentleman a gentleman if he’s not one?”

This just sets the stage for Sanders’ glorious smackdown. He replies, “Now, my ears may be playing a trick on me, but I thought I heard the gentleman a moment ago say something about homos in the military […] You have insulted thousands of men and women who have put their lives on the line in defending this country—and I think that they’re owed an apology.”

Cunningham resigned from the House in November of 2005 after pleading guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes and underreporting his income for 2004. He also pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and tax evasion. He was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison and was forced to pay $1.8 million in restitution. 

Damn.

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Watch Bernie Sanders Shut Down a Homophobic House Member in This Video From 1995