Distinguishing between Fox News' massive audience and its extremist on-air personalities, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he agreed to attend a town hall hosted by the right-wing network because he wants to make the case to Trump voters that the president lied when he promised healthcare for all, no cuts to Medicare or Medicaid, and a tax bill that benefits the working class.
"He told you he wasn't gonna cut Medicare and Medicaid. He lied to you. How do you explain that to people who voted for Trump if you don't talk to people who voted for Trump?"
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
"When I go on Fox, what I will say is, 'Look, many of you voted for Donald Trump, but he lied to you. He told you he was gonna provide healthcare for everybody. Yet his policies are to throw 30 million people off of the health insurance they have,'" the Vermont senator and 2020 presidential contender said in an interview with HuffPost's Amanda Terkel.
"He told you he wasn't gonna cut Medicare and Medicaid. He lied to you," Sanders continued. "Massive cuts in his budget for Medicare and Medicaid. We're not going to let him do it, but that's what he wants to do. Told you his tax plan would not benefit the wealthy. He lied again. Of course, 83 percent of the benefits go to the top one percent. How do you explain that to people who voted for Trump if you don't talk to people who voted for Trump?"
The Fox town hall will take place Monday, April 15 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and it will be moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. The town hall's central focus will be on the economy and jobs.
Sanders—who has emerged as the early Democratic front-runner with strong grassroots enthusiasm and a massive first-quarter fundraising haul—said his campaign's strategy of reaching as many people as possible is not just about an appearance on Fox News, which he acknowledged is effectively a "propaganda arm" of the Trump White House.
"If you check where I go, and where I will go into this campaign, I'm not just going to go into blue districts. You've got to go into areas where people are," Sanders said. "Working people need to know the truth, and that is that Donald Trump betrayed them, lied to them. And I intend to do that."
While some criticized Sanders for agreeing to the town hall, the Vermont senator argued it would be political malpractice to ignore an audience of millions of people.
"For better or for worse—and it is for worse—for whatever reason, you know, Fox has a huge viewing audience," Sanders said. "And to simply say that we're not going to talk to millions of people who watch that network, I don't think is smart."