UPDATED: 6:54 a.m. ET, April 5 —
After weeks of assessing the state of his campaign for president, Bernie Sanders may be ready to call it quits, according to a new report. But it was unclear what may have given the senator abrupt pause — his increasingly “narrow path” toward the Democratic nomination or several recent missteps by people associated with his campaign. Several of those missteps have been committed by social justice advocate and journalist Shaun King, a Sanders surrogate who has been repeatedly called out on social media for making false assertions.
The latest instances of that came just this past week when most recently King tried to Twitter shame Democratic Hawaii Congressman Brian Schatz’s stance on healthcare — one that actually aligned with Sanders’ Medicare For All platform.
The episode resulted in unwanted negative attention for Sanders’ campaign as well as some major backlash on social media for King, who in the past been accused of scams to profit off of Black people during their times of hardship.
That came a few weeks after King announced his leadership of the “C19 Help Squad,” a group soliciting funds “to help people, families, & businesses in need” during the coronavirus pandemic. Activist Leslie Mac tweeted last month that King’s C19 Help Squad was a scam.
Weeks earlier, King tweeted that MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow, who is also the host of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” reported “that multiple ‘senior officials’ within the Democratic Party are interfering with the primaries to stop” Sanders’ campaign.
“They reported that the party has asked Bloomberg to drop out so that Biden would have an easier time against Bernie,” he continued. Maddow fired back, denying King’s claims. “What? No. I didn’t report any such thing,” she responded.
King went a step further and shared an MSNBC clip, where Maddow was discussing pressures Mike Bloomberg’s campaign is facing, according to sources, which had nothing to do with King’s aforementioned accusation.
“The Bloomberg campaign is experiencing intense pressure from multiple sources from inside of the Democratic Party that he needs to quit,” Maddow said in the clip.
Social media was quick to call out King and his problematic attempt to insist that Maddow said something that she simply did not.
“Bro…she said nothing in this clip about interfering with the Sanders campaign. At this point, apologize to Rachel and MSNBC and log off. You’re trying to fit square pegs into round holes,” one user wrote.
Another person said, “She’s still not saying what you claimed about Sanders. You should give it up before you embarrass yourself further.”
Some have even pointed to their lack of trust in Sanders’ campaign stemming from King’s tweets.
“I’m sick of this crap. This is why the Sanders campaign is so mistrusted. @maddow DID NOT report this. And senior officials are not ‘interfering’ in the primaries.@BernieSanders is a Democrat once every four years. Maybe he’s the one interfering in our primaries,” actor Ken Olin tweeted.
Shortly after, Talcum X began trending, which is said to be one of King’s nicknames, among many others.
“Will somebody tell Rachel Dolezal little brother Talcum X aka Shaun King the lying king to stay off twitter. And to take this L as well,” one Twitter user said.
“Why didn’t I know y’all nicknamed @shaunking Martin Luther cream and Thurgood partial Rolling on the floor laughingRolling on the floor laughingRolling on the floor laughingRolling on the floor laughingSkull I knew about Talcum X but this new revelation has sent me under. Lol,” said another.
While some folks are calling for King to apologize to Maddow for his false accusations and election misinformation, others appear to be tired altogether. Nonetheless, they aren’t too tired to call out King and his wrongdoing.