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Sanders reflects on Trump transition, Democratic losses

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 4:36 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:20 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - What does Senator Bernie Sanders think about the outcome of the election and what it says about President Donald Trump’s hold on the Republican Party? Sanders, In the second part of our exclusive conversation, discussed Trump’s continued failure to concede or cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden.

Senator Sanders calls the president’s response to the election “un-American.” “Look, all over the country, people run for office, including myself. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” Sanders said.

Sanders says the fact that President Trump refuses to admit he lost the presidential election undermines democracy. “If Trump is going around claiming this was a fraudulent election, there are going to be millions of people saying, ‘Why do I want to bother to vote. The whole thing is rigged.’ That is destroying American democracy and that is just an unbelievably ugly and irresponsible thing for this guy to do,” Sanders said.

But Sanders says he’s not worried the President will be able to continue the fight to stay in office much longer. “Given the fact that all these lawsuits are going against them, that people understand what he’s doing is outrageous, I think that Joe Biden will take office and be inaugurated on January 20,” he said.

Sanders says COVID-19 is the most pressing crisis facing the new president. President Trump has prevented Biden’s team from access to intelligence and critics say that could hurt pandemic planning. But there’s good news on the vaccine front -- two showing promising trial results that they are more than 90% effective.

Reporter Darren Perron: The Trump administration is saying they are working with these pharmaceutical companies to get these vaccines out quickly to as many Americans as possible. In fact, the president tweeted that historians should remember that these great discoveries took place on his watch. Does he deserve the credit?

Senator Bernie Sanders: Oh God, what other president would say that? ‘On his watch.’ We have great scientists in the U.S. and all over the world who are working hard. Trump, like everybody else, wanted to make sure we developed this vaccine as quickly as we possibly can. The challenge is -- and it’s not an easy challenge -- is to get dosages out to 300 million people all over this country. That’s one of the reasons we need to pass a strong COVID-19 emergency relief package in Congress. States, hospitals, and medical establishments are going to need a lot of help.

Sanders says he worked hard to get Biden the win -- holding nearly 30 virtual rallies urging his supporters to make the switch. “I did not think we could live with another four years of Trump and I worked very hard to try to defeat him,” Sanders said. He says he continues to push the President-elect to adopt more progressive policies. “I think he has moved a long way and now we have got to give him the ability to implement those proposals.”

Sanders wants a $15 an hour minimum wage, equal pay for equal work for women, free college, aggressive climate change legislation, and Medicare for all.

Reporter Darren Perron: Opponents would argue -- and a lot of Republicans have said -- these are radical, far-left ideas, and even some Democrats have said that progressive ideas hurt some Democrats who ran this past time. Some House seats were lost.

Senator Bernie Sanders: I categorically disagree. For a start, in terms of a radical idea, Darren, if you and I drove 50 miles north to our neighbors in Canada, somehow or another, for decades they’ve had a system where anybody can go to any hospital you want, any doctor you want, you don’t take out your wallet, you don’t take out your credit card -- universal health care -- they are spending one half as much per capita as we are. Sound like a radical idea? I don’t think so. In terms of the criticism made against me and others, let’s be clear. Over 100 candidates running for Congress on a Medicare for All proposal. Not one of them lost. One candidate lost who was running on a Green New Deal.

You can watch Darren’s entire conversation with Senator Sanders coming up Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. on “You Can Quote Me.”

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