Bernie Sanders Calls Trump “Delusional”

Trump is dividing Americans over race, while he pursues economic policies that will hurt the middle class.

CHUCK TODD:

And joining me now is one of the leaders of the Democratic Party these days, though he’s actually still not technically a member of the Democratic Party, it’s Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Senator Sanders, welcome back to Meet the Press, sir.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Good to be with you.

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start on this, the travel ban and immigration in general. And let me ask the question to you this way, do you think the current procedures that we have to vet refugees, to vet folks that are coming into this country, do you think it needs to be improved? Do you think it is a safety risk right now?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

President Trump is backtracking on every economic promise that he made to the American people when he told workers and senior citizens he was not going to cut social security, Medicare and Medicaid. So what’s going on right now, we’re talking a whole lot about immigration, he is appointing Wall Street bankers, the same people he told us he would oppose, to very high positions. Gary Cohn has gotten to $250 million severance package from Goldman Sachs. He is now the main financial advisor.

Well, I think that the vetting mechanisms we have now are very, very strong. If anybody has an idea as to how we can make them stronger, let’s go forward. I don’t think there’s any debate whether you’re progressive, conservative or anybody else that we want to keep the United States safe and we want to be 100% clear that anybody who comes into this country should not be coming into this country to do us harm.

But what you just heard Mr. Miller say is a shell game. While– where there’s a whole lot of discussion about the racist, in my view, immigration policies of the Trump administration which are based on anti-Muslim ideology, which are doing us enormous harm all over the world, something else is going on at the exact same moment.

And that President Trump is backtracking on every economic promise that he made to the American people when he told workers and senior citizens he was not going to cut social security, Medicare and Medicaid. So what’s going on right now, we’re talking a whole lot about immigration, he is appointing Wall Street bankers, the same people he told us he would oppose, to very high positions. Gary Cohn has gotten to $250 million severance package from Goldman Sachs. He is now the main financial advisor. So we’re talking a whole lot about dividing the American people up. We’re supposed to hate Muslims. We’re supposed to hate Latinos. We’re supposed to hate blacks.

CHUCK TODD:

So you think all of this is–

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Meanwhile–

CHUCK TODD:

–a shiny, metal object? You think all of this is a shiny, metal object right now to distract the public, divide the public?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

You got it. You got it. Meanwhile, meanwhile he was going to clean the swamp. Remember that?

CHUCK TODD:

Uh-huh.

And what I say to the American people, stay focused. Stay focused. Do you want billionaires and Wall Street executives to be running this economy? Or do we want economic policies that work for working families and the middle class?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, guess who’s running the swamp right now? The same exact Wall Street guys from Goldman Sachs who were there in the past. So we’re all talking about who do we hate tomorrow? Is it the Muslims? Is it Latinos? Who are we supposed to hate?

And let’s remember that when Mr. Trump some years ago helped lead the birther effort to undermine the legitimacy of the first African-American president in our history. It was trying to divide us up. And what I say to the American people, stay focused. Stay focused. Do you want billionaires and Wall Street executives to be running this economy? Or do we want economic policies that work for working families and the middle class?

CHUCK TODD:

I want–

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Where is the discussion about raising the minimum wage to a living wage? Pay equity for women–

CHUCK TODD:

Let me ask you this, Senator, we’ve seen a lot of anti-Trump activism over the last three weeks. Once again, every Saturday of his presidency so far we’ve seen some protests. There’s a lot of energy in the progressive movement. But there’s a lot of debate about what Democrats should do about it. First of all, do you believe this is a Tea Party for the left? And, if so, what lessons did you learn in ’09 that you think can be learned by the Democrats now?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

What are you going to do when you throw 20 million people off of health insurance? How many of them are going to die? What’s your plan? What are you going to do when you raise prescription drug costs on average $2,000 for senior citizens? Are you going to really repeal the protection against pre-existing conditions so that people who have cancer or heart disease will no longer be able to get insurance? You’re going to throw kids off their parents’ health insurance program

No, it’s not a Tea Party because the Tea Party was essentially funded by the billionaire Koch brothers family. This is a spontaneous and grassroots uprising of the American people. And let me just mention to you, Chuck, you may be the first to hear this, on February 25th, two weeks from yesterday there is, in fact, going to be rallies all over this country.

And I think you’re going to see people in conservative areas, in progressive areas asking the Republicans, “What are you going to do when you throw 20 million people off of health insurance? How many of them are going to die? What’s your plan? What are you going to do when you raise prescription drug costs on average $2,000 for senior citizens? Are you going to really repeal the protection against pre-existing conditions so that people who have cancer or heart disease will no longer be able to get insurance? You’re going to throw kids off their parents’ health insurance program?” Republicans are going to have to start answering those questions. And the American people are pretty clear, overwhelmingly they want to improve the Affordable Care Act. They do not want to simply repeal it.

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Let me ask you a question, some of your former staffers including Nick Brana has a Draft Bernie for a People’s Party movement. Essentially they want to start a new political party. In this statement it said this, “Despite Bernie Sanders’ monumental endeavor to bring people into the Democratic Party, people are leaving it by the millions. The collective efforts to reform the party cannot stem the tide of people who are going independent, let alone expand the Democratic base.” What do you say to those efforts?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, I say two things, right now we are in a pivotal moment in American history. We have a president who is delusional in many respects, a pathological liar, somebody who is trying to–

CHUCK TODD:

Those are strong words.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

–divide us up.

CHUCK TODD:

Can you work with–

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Those are strong words.

When somebody goes before you and the American people, say, “Three to five million people voted illegally in the last election,” nobody believes that. There is not the scintilla of evidence. What would you call that remark? It’s a lie. It’s a delusion.

CHUCK TODD:

Can you work with a pathological liar?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Well, it makes life very difficult, not just for me. And I don’t mean, you know, I know it sounds, it is very harsh. But I think that’s the truth. When somebody goes before you and the American people, say, “Three to five million people voted illegally in the last election,” nobody believes that. There is not the scintilla of evidence.

What would you call that remark? It’s a lie. It’s a delusion. But second of all, to answer your question, I think what we need to do right now is focusing on bringing the American people together around a progressive agenda. American people want to raise the minimum wage. They want to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. They want the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes. They want the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all people as a right.

CHUCK TODD:

So if the Democratic Party isn’t that vehicle then you would support something like that? But you still believe the Democratic–

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

No right now–

CHUCK TODD:

–Party is that vehicle?

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

–right now, Chuck, I am working to bring fundamental reform to the Democratic Party, to open the doors of the Democratic Party to working people, to lower income people, to young people who have not felt welcome in the embrace of the Democratic Party.

CHUCK TODD:

All right, I got to leave it there. Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for coming on and sharing your views, sir. Appreciate it. Coming up–

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:

Thank you.

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