Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday while calling President Donald Trump “an embarrassment” to the United States.
Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate, sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, losing a hard-fought contest to Hillary Clinton.
“I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country,” Sanders said, according to Vermont Public Radio.
“We are running against a president who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction,” Sanders said in an email sent to supporters.
He reiterated the point to Vermont Public Radio.
“I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants,” Sanders said.
“You know as well as I do that we are living in a pivotal and dangerous moment in American history.”
“Bottom line,” he told CBS News later in the morning, “it is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated.”
“I think it is unacceptable and un-American, to be frank with you, that we have a president who is a pathological liar,” Sanders said, adding that Trump “is doing what no president in our lifetimes has come close to do doing, and that is trying to divide us up.”
Sanders was asked during his interview if he is the best representative of a Democratic Party that has grown increasingly diverse in terms of race and gender. Sanders enters a crowded field of candidates, many of whom share the same policies Sanders has advocated.
“We have got to look at candidates, you know, not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender and not by their age,” he said.
“I think we have got to try to move us toward a nondiscriminatory society which looks at people based on their abilities, based on what they stand for.”
Sanders later told CBS he is what Democrats need.
“If the Democratic Party is going to do well in the future, I think they have to reach out to those independents, including, by the way, a lot of young people, a lot of people of color, and bring them into the Democratic Party. And I think I’m in a good position to do that,” he said.
Sanders proposed Medicare for all, adoption of the Green New Deal and enactment of a $15 per hour minimum wage, The Washington Post reported.
The Trump campaign offered a response Tuesday morning.
“Bernie Sanders has already won the debate in the Democrat primary, because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism. But the American people will reject an agenda of sky-high tax rates, government-run health care and coddling dictators like those in Venezuela,” press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
“Only President Trump will keep America free, prosperous and safe.”
Sanders, however, said he has become mainstream.
“All of those ideas people were saying, ‘Oh Bernie, they’re so radical. They are extreme. The American people just won’t accept those ideas.’ Well, you know what’s happened in over three years? All of those ideas and many more are now part of the political mainstream,” he said.
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