Warning that President Donald Trump cannot be defeated by an establishment Democrat running a "same old, same old type of campaign," Sen. Bernie Sanders said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times editorial board published Thursday that Trump would have a field day with former Vice President Joe Biden's record of support for the Iraq War, job-killing trade deals, and other destructive policies.
"If you're a Donald Trump and you got Biden having voted for the war in Iraq, Biden having voted for these terrible, in my view, trade agreements, Biden having voted for the bankruptcy bill. Trump will eat his lunch."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders
"Joe Biden is a personal friend of mine, so I'm not here to, you know, to attack him," Sanders said. "But my God, if you are, if you're a Donald Trump and you got Biden having voted for the war in Iraq, Biden having voted for these terrible, in my view, trade agreements, Biden having voted for the bankruptcy bill. Trump will eat his lunch."
The Los Angeles Times interview was not the first time Sanders has distinguished his own record from Biden's by highlighting the former vice president's support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During a Democratic primary debate in September, Sanders noted that, unlike Biden, he "never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq."
"I voted against the war in Iraq, and helped lead the opposition," the Vermont senator said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden: "The big mistake, the huge mistake, and one of the big differences between you and me: I never believed what Cheney and Bush said about Iraq."
— ABC News (@ABC) September 13, 2019
Sanders told the Times that defeating Trump in 2020 will require a candidate who embraces "ideas that are going to excite and energize millions of people who right now are not particularly active in politics, and who may not vote at all"—and the Vermont senator argued he is the Democratic contender best positioned to deliver such a campaign.
"The reason I believe that I am the strongest candidate, and the reason I believe our approach is right is if you want a large voter turnout, if we understand that there are tens of millions of people in this country who don't vote, who've kind of given up on the political process... I think I am by far the strongest candidate to reach out to those people," Sanders said. "I think I'm the strongest candidate to bring together a multiracial coalition of African Americans, of Latinos, of Asians."
Though Trump polls as one of the most unpopular presidents in U.S. history, Sanders warned against underestimating him, as many did in the 2016 election.
"Anyone who underestimates Donald Trump as a candidate, for a variety of reasons, will be very mistaken," said Sanders. "He is going to be a very, very strong candidate. He certainly has a very strong base. He will have unlimited amounts of money to campaign on. He is a pathological liar. He will merge in an unprecedented way agencies of government with his campaign, because he doesn't particularly believe in the rule of law. So he is going to be a very, very tough opponent."
"The only way that you beat Trump," Sanders added, "is by having an unprecedented campaign, an unprecedentedly large voter turnout."