Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., didn’t rule out a 2020 presidential run during a conversation at Lisner Auditorium Tuesday.
The senator and former presidential candidate visited campus to speak about his second memoir, “Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance.” Sanders discussed main themes from his book, like his 2016 run for president and the state of politics under President Donald Trump – and said he was still up in the air about launching another presidential campaign.
Sanders said it is “absolutely imperative that Donald Trump not be elected president of the United States of America again,” adding that he would do everything he could to ensure Trump doesn’t see a second term.
When asked if he will run for president next election cycle, Sanders said he is still consulting with people across the country to assess whether he is the strongest candidate to defeat Trump.
“The issue now is not ego – it is the understanding that we are at a pivotal moment in American history and we all have to work together to save our democracy, protect the middle class, protect the planet and protect our children,” he said.
Sanders said he believes a politician’s job is to bring the American people together – but said Trump has done the opposite during his nearly two years in office.
“The thing that bothers me the most is that he is doing what no president in my memory has ever done, and that is quite intentionally for cheap political gain,” he said. “He is trying to divide the American people up based on the color of our skin, based on the country we come from, our religion, our sexual orientation, our gender.”
Sanders also touched on Trump’s criticisms of the media, characterizing them as “dangerous” and “anti-democratic,” especially in light of recent attacks on journalists around the world.
“Calling the media an enemy of the people and talking about fake news is outrageous, and at a time when journalists are being killed all over the world for trying to do their jobs, it is beyond comprehension that a president of the United States would say that,” he said.
Sanders also recalled his decision to pull out of the 2016 presidential election and throw his support behind the eventual Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He said he made the decision in the hopes that she would defeat Trump.
“On her worst day, she would have been a much better president than Trump,” Sanders said.
Sanders said he thought that Clinton was poised to win the election in November 2016 – but after her loss, he said he could not sit quietly and decided to take part in the “resistance,” which inspired the name of his memoir.
“I and a whole lot of people in this country had to sit down and think, ‘Where do we go from here?’” he said. “We could not linger in despair or depression because our task, for the sake of our kids and grandchildren, was to stand up and fight back.”
After his 2016 presidential campaign, Sanders said he made it his mission to educate people on current affairs and encourage the public to involve themselves in politics by voting and running for office.
“The two-fold goal we had after the campaign ended was to continue the fight to bring people together and the fight for a progressive agenda, and the second fight was to mobilize people at the grassroots level to get involved in the political process in a way they haven’t done before,” he said.
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