Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders decided not to speak at the Women’s Convention, choosing instead to travel to Puerto Rico to see where he is needed.
Sanders announced the decision Thursday and apologized for not being able to attend the event organized by the Women’s March, reports The Detroit News.
“I want to apologize to the organizers of the Women’s Convention for not being able to attend your conference next Friday in Detroit,” Sanders said in a statement. “Given the emergency situation in Puerto Rico, I will be traveling there to visit with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and other officials to determine the best way forward to deal with the devastation the island is experiencing.”
Puerto Rico is still facing a crisis after Hurricane Maria wiped through the island last month and island officials are struggling to make sure their residents have enough food and water for survival.
The Women’s March organizers, who are hosting the convention to prepare women for the 2018 elections, said they understood why Sanders needed to bow out.
“We understand his leadership is needed in Puerto Rico and, as always, we deeply appreciate his commitment to communities in need. We look forward to continuing to work with him on issues that impact women and all Americans,” organizers said.
The Women’s March faced a wave of outrage last week when feminists denounced their decision to have Sanders speak at the first night of the convention. The Women’s March was forced to defend itself, pointing out that theme for the convention came from a woman and Rep. Maxine Waters would be the convention’s key note speaker.
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