Sanders slams Biden, says he was ‘wrong big time’ on Iraq War
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders teams with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to call for a massive mobilization of federal resources to deal with climate change.
In some of his most forceful criticism to date against 2020 Democratic rival Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he has some “pretty significant” policy differences with the former vice president as he assailed his stances on trade, Wall Street regulation and more.
And Sanders – the populist senator from Vermont who’s making his second straight White House run – said that Biden was “wrong big time” in voting in 2002 in support of the Iraq War.
In an interview Tuesday with the Washington Post, Sanders also slammed Republican President Trump over his controversial tweets directed at Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and three fellow first-term progressive lawmakers. He called Trump a “racist” and a “bigot.”
And the independent senator said that if elected to the White House, he would “absolutely” look into breaking up online giants Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
Sanders was interviewed a day after Biden unveiled a plan to beef up the Affordable Care Act – better known as ObamaCare – by adding a “public option.”
Biden’s move is a bid to protect the signature 2010 law – which dramatically altered the nation’s health care system – not only from the decade-old attempts by the GOP to repeal the law, but also from calls from the Democratic Party’s left flank to replace it with "Medicare-for-all."
“I understand the appeal to Medicare-for-all. But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of ObamaCare. And I’m not for that,” Biden emphasized.
Sanders, firing back a day later, said “of course he’s wrong” regarding Biden’s insinuation that a single-payer Medicare-for-all system would tear up ObamaCare.
And he said that “when Trump and his friends tried to repeal it, you’re looking at a guy who traveled all over this country, led large rallies, and worked with Democratic senators and members of Congress to oppose what Trump was doing.”
“I have helped write and defended the Affordable Care Act,” Sanders added.
But he noted that “you know what – times change and we have to go further.”
“I like Joe and I hope we will have this debate, but when Joe says something to the effect that ‘Medicare for seniors’ -- what did he say -- will end,’ I mean that’s just obviously an absurd situation,” Sanders added.
He explained that his Medicare-for-all plan would cost $30-40 trillion over a 10-year period. But he compared that to the $50 trillion he said it would cost to continue the nation’s current health care system.
Sanders also slammed Biden for his vote in the 1990s as a senator from Delaware in favor of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as his initial support for the Iraq War. Biden has long admitted that his 2002 Iraq War vote was a mistake.
And Sanders targeted Biden for his votes to deregulate Wall Street, which he noted he opposed.
“That led in my view to the Wall Street collapse of 2008 and the incredible pain that that caused for the American people,” Sanders noted.
And he argued that “the differences between Joe and me on foreign policy, on domestic policy, is pretty significant. More importantly, our vision for the future of this country is very different and voters will end up taking a look at our records, at our ideas for the future. They’ll make their decision.”
Sanders also took aim at the president over his language – both on Twitter and in front of cameras at the White House – slamming Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democratic freshman Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
In comments that Democrats have called racist, Trump said that if the lawmakers “hate our country,” they can go back to their “broken and crime-infested” countries, fix them and then "come back and show us how it's done."
“If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, you can leave, you can leave right now,” he said.
Three of the four lawmakers were born in the United States.
“We have a president of the United States who is a racist, who is a bigot,” Sanders emphasized. “This is disgusting. This is the most racist outbreak statements from a president that I’ve heard in my life and it must be universally condemned.”
In the interview, Sanders also said if elected, he would probably not move the U.S. embassy to Israel from Jerusalem back to Tel Aviv.
Sanders, 77, was asked if his age was a factor in the 2020 election. He noted that it was one of many factors, but also said that he’s “blessed with good health.”
Explaining he used to run long distance as a younger person, he jokingly challenged the 73-year-old president, saying “I will run a mile with Donald Trump.”