U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has offered a blistering critique of President Donald Trump, calling the real estate mogul "delusional" and a "pathological liar" whose goal "to undermine American democracy" can be pushed back by engaging the segments of voters that Trump's campaign capitalized on.
Speaking Thursday to CNN's "Situation Room," Sanders addressed Trump's allegation less than a week ago (which has created an ongoing "conundrum" for the White House) that former President Barack Obama ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped. That claim, Sanders said, "just adds to the delusional statements we hear from President Trump," referencing also the "total nonsense" from Trump that 3-5 million people voted illegally in November and that he saw people in New Jersey celebrate the destruction of the twin towers on 9/11.
In fact, he "lies all of the time," Sanders said to the Guardian, and does so "to undermine the foundations of American democracy" by doing things like "making wild attacks against the media," saying "that virtually everything that mainstream media says is a lie," making "wild accusations" like that of millions voting illegally on Election Day, and disparaging the George W. Bush-appointed judge who blocked his first Muslim ban. With acts like this, Sanders said, Trump purports to be "the only person in America who stands for the American people, the only person in America who is telling the truth, the only person in America who gets it right."
Trump's goal, Sanders said to the Guardian, "is to end up as leader of a nation which has moved in a significant degree toward authoritarianism where the president of the United States has extraordinary powers, far more so than our constitution has provided for or the values of the American people support." To fight back, Sanders says, "very conservative Republican colleagues who believe in democracy [...] have got to join us in resistance."
But to understand how the country got to a place of having a president Trump—as well as to strategize how to boot his CEO-profiting agenda—Sanders explains to the Guardian and in a new interview with the Huffington Post, is to understand the failures of the Democratic Party (the party with which he caucuses) over the last several decades.
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Huffington Post's senior politics editor Sam Stein writes:
Since January, the Vermont senator has stopped in Mississippi, Kansas, and Michigan. Monday he's heading to one of the poorest counties in America, McDowell County, West Virginia, which Trump carried by a ratio of 3-to-1. Sanders views these enclaves as critical for the future of the Democratic Party and, by extension, the country. They are, he argues, the places where Democrats have shown "an enormous amount of neglect."
Sanders argues "that Trump has effectively turned one set of voters (working-class whites) against another (immigrants and refugees) to the point the real culprits (bottom-line-driven CEOs) skate by without reprimand or punishment," Stein writes.
It's a strategy Sanders says is employed by "demagogues"—a comparison the United Nations human rights chief has noted.
To resist Trump, and bring to (and bring back to) to the Democratic Party those neglected by political elites, what's necessary is "a proactive agenda that brings people together to fight for a new America," Sanders said.