Blumenthal Defends Appearance at Communist Party-Affiliate Event: ‘I’m a Strong Believer in American Capitalism’

By Melanie Sun
Melanie Sun
Melanie Sun
Melanie is an Australian-based reporter and editor covering world news. She has a background in environmental research.
December 19, 2021 Updated: December 19, 2021

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has expressed regret for attending an award show affiliated with the Communist Party USA last week.

The Democratic senator said in a Friday phone interview with the Hartford Courant, “My understanding was that this ceremony was strictly a labor event.’’

He explained that had been invited by local labor unions to honor three community members receiving awards.

“If I had known the details, I wouldn’t have gone. … Let me just say very emphatically, I’m a Democrat and a strong believer in American capitalism. I have been consistently a Democrat and a strong supporter and believer in American capitalism,” he said.

Blumenthal attended an annual Amistad Awards ceremony at a New Haven church hosted by the Connecticut People’s World Committee (CPWC) on Dec. 11. The CPWC is affiliated with the Communist Party USA.

Blumenthal was introduced by Lisa Bergmann, a Communist Party member, as a “special surprise guest” at the event after acknowledging “how important the Communist Party is in our [Labor] movement.”

Blumenthal expressed thanks to Azucena Santiago, a SEIU union activist, for “standing up to McDonald’s.” Santiago is an employee at the fast food chain’s Interstate 95 service plaza, and has been involved in advocacy efforts in support of unionization in the restaurant industry.

The senators thanked two other award recipients; Democratic state Senator Julie Kushner of Danbury and Pastor Rodney Wade of the Long Hill Bible Church in Waterbury.

After Blumenthal’s speech, Bergmann as emcee encouraged members of the audience to join the communist party.

“If you are not already part of the Communist Party [USA], we invite you to participate and contribute and join,” she said. “There’s more and more people talking about socialism in this country as it becomes more and more clear that capitalism is not going to work for our future.”

The senator’s attendance of the event has drawn wide criticism from victims of communism as well as those weary of the far-left.

Meanwhile, the senator made light of criticism directed at his attendance, “People are going to do what they’re going to do. I’m just going to keep doing my job for the people of Connecticut.”

“There’s a lot at stake in the Senate right now—voting rights, the ongoing pandemic, making childcare affordable, lowering prescription drug prices. That’s where my focus is.”

No other prominent Democrats attended the ceremony.

Melanie Sun
Melanie is an Australian-based reporter and editor covering world news. She has a background in environmental research.