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Sanders to oppose Trump budget pick over writings on Islam

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that he’ll oppose Donald Trump’s pick to be deputy White House budget director over a blog post last year that says Muslims “stand condemned” because they have rejected Jesus Christ.

The Vermont independent said nominee Russell Vought should not be confirmed over the comments, which he said were Islamaphobic. Sanders said Vought “is not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.”

Vought wrote a post last year on a conservative blog defending Wheaton College, his alma mater, for forcing out a professor who said Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.”

“Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology,” Vought wrote on The Resurgent. “They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Sanders, who leads Democrats on the panel, said Vought’s post was “indefensible. It is hateful. It is Islamaphobic. And it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”

Vought told the panel that “I’m a Christian and I believe in a Christian set of principles.” He said his post was to defend the actions of the conservative college and weren’t anti-Islam.

“I specifically wrote it with the intention of conveying my viewpoint in a respectful manner that avoided inflammatory rhetoric,” Vought said in a written response to the panel.

A committee vote hasn’t been scheduled yet. If approved by Budget and another Senate panel, Vought’s nomination would be ready for a vote by the full Senate.

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