While some in the media are already vigorously working to defend Sen. Bernie Sanders from accusations of left-wing radicalism, they may find no greater obstacle than the Democratic presidential candidate's own words.
According to a report by the Washington Examiner, as a gubernatorial candidate for the socialist Liberty Union party in 1972, Sanders, then 31 years old, did not push back against accusations that he was an extremist.
"I don't mind people coming up and calling me a communist," Sanders said during a question-and-answer session. "At least, they're still alive."
Trump: 'I think he's a communist'
The revelation comes as President Donald Trump called Sanders "a communist" in a Super Bowl Sunday interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
"I think he's a communist," Trump said. "Look, I think of communism when I think of Bernie. You could say socialist, but didn't he get married in Moscow? That's wonderful. Moscow's wonderful."
The president was referring to Sanders and his wife's honeymoon in the former Soviet Union.
A lifetime spent supporting Marxist causes prompted an FBI investigation
While Sanders now says he rejects the "communist" label, the Democratic front-runner spent much of his life supporting Marxist dictators and Soviet causes.
In 1980, Sanders "proudly endorsed and supported" Andrew Pulley, the party's presidential candidate, who once said that American soldiers should "take up their guns and shoot their officers." Sanders was one of three electors for Pulley on the Vermont ballot, stating in a press release: "I fully support the SWP's continued defense of the Cuban revolution."
Sanders' involvement with the Socialist Workers Party raised so many suspicions that he was even investigated by the FBI, presumably as a possible communist spy.
"I would agree with the judge," Sanders is reported to have said at the time while referring to a civil case arising from FBI investigation, "who is quite correct in pointing out that when FBI agents come into a secretary of state's office attempting to 'investigate' the political background of a mayor of the largest city in the state, there's no question but that this opens up the potential for exploitation by the media and could be a source of embarrassment."