Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said Sunday that he believes he can boost his own standing in the race by swaying supporters of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump to back his campaign.
Sanders told CBS’ "Face the Nation" that many of Trump’s supporters have legitimate fears stemming from income inequality that Sanders is best positioned to address.
“What Trump has done with some success is taken that anger, taken those fears, which are legitimate, and converted them into anger against Mexicans, anger against Muslims,” Sanders said.
“In my view, that is not the way we are going to address the problems facing this country,” he said.
Instead, Sanders supports a platform of bringing citizens together to push Congress to pass laws that address income inequality. He said that many of Trump supporters are “working class people and they are angry” because they are losing their jobs to overseas firms, cannot afford to send their children to college and are working longer hours for lower wages.
Sanders also sent out a release on Sunday saying that Trump is “getting nervous” about working families getting a better understanding of his policies.
“Trump insisted on Thursday that the US must keep wages low in order to compete with other countries, one day after he dug in on his assertion that ‘wages are too high’ in America,” Sanders said.
He cited comments Trump made about wages being “too high” in America on Fox News last week and at the Republican debate earlier this month.
“It appears that Mr Trump is getting nervous that working families are catching on that his policies represent the interests of the billionaire class against almost everyone else,” Sanders said.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Sanders said Sunday morning that while there is a lot of attention on Trump’s rhetoric, the key issue is his policies.
Asked about Trump’s most recent attack on the Clinton campaign, suggesting that Bill “he has demonstrated a penchant for sexism” and shouldn’t campaign for Hillary, Sanders said: “The real issues are not Donald Trump’s vulgarity—and he is vulgar—it is the fact that Donald Trump does not think we should be raising the minimum wage, he believe wages in America are too high,” Sanders said. “Meanwhile what he wants to do is divide our country between Latinos and Americans and Muslims and everybody else. That’s not the kind of America we need.”
The rest of the interview focused on Sanders’ foreign policy credentials.
He called for a coalition involving Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who he said should use more of their wealth and resources to combat Isis.
He emphasized that while national security is “an enormously important issue,” presidential candidates should also have plans to address income inequality. “Yes, of course we’ve got to focus on foreign policy, we have to destroy Isis, but I will not stop fighting for working families and the middle class,” Sanders said.
And while he has had a fraught relationship with the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton, he said the factions are coming together around their shared interest in stopping any of the Republican candidates from becoming president. Sanders said: “We want to defeat rightwing extremism in this country, so we are trying to work out our differences of opinion.”
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