“It’s nice to be able to go to the grocery store and buy some strawberries without being surrounded by eight armed guys.”
Yes, Bernie Sanders began his Thursday night appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers in the most Bernie way possible: kvetching. But after some light pleasantries, the Vermont Senator got down to brass tacks—namely, that it’s time for his supporters to rally behind Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in order to defeat former reality show host Donald Trump.
“I think what people will understand is that, as we look at the real issues facing the American people—and that is the decline of the American middle class, income inequality, and climate change—you’ve got a guy like Trump who denies the reality of climate change, which the scientists tell us is the major global crisis that we face,” said Sanders. “So, I think more and more people will catch on to what Mitt Romney—and I don’t often quote Mitt Romney—but Romney was right at least once and he called Trump a ‘phony’ and a ‘fraud,’ and I agree with that assertion.”
Sen. Sanders emerged as a hero for the working class, and Trump, a real estate heir who inherited tens of millions from his rich father, has been sued time and again for stiffing his workers, had magical disappearing bone spurs that allowed him to dodge the Vietnam draft, and lives in a literal Bond villain-esque gold penthouse overlooking Manhattan, rather inexplicably has as well on the strength of accent and bravado.
“It’s pathetic and it’s laughable,” said Sanders. “Here is a guy who has exploited people for much of his business career. Here is a guy who claims how concerned he is about American companies going abroad to manufacture products—a very legitimate concern—and yet his own clothing manufacturing is done in other countries around the world where the poor workers are being exploited. And then he talks about how he’s going to stand up with working people, and he puts his business advisors council together and they’re all these billionaire conservative folks. So I don’t think there’s any reason for anyone to believe that Trump is going to stand with working people. He’s a billionaire; his proposals call for massive tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. This is not a guy who, in my view, is going to stand up for working people.”
While Sanders confessed to Meyers that he’d “very much” like to be debating Trump right now as the Democratic nominee, he also touched on how the media—and the public—has placed far too much emphasis on “personality” over substance.
“What media does is focus on Trump’s personality, and Clinton’s personality, and my personality. What’s personality, right? We’ve gotta get beyond personality,” Sanders said. “You don’t like Clinton? Fine. Take a hard look at the issues that impact your life! When Hillary Clinton is saying she’s going to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all families earning $125,000 or less—and deals significantly with student debt—you know what? That is a very big deal in this country. She’s going to double the number of community health centers in America so working class people and low-income people can have access to healthcare. That’s a big deal. She is going to address climate change, she is going to raise taxes on the rich. So what I would ask those people who voted for me, even if you have concerns about Clinton—you don’t like this aspect, I understand that—but look at the hard issues that impact your life and your neighbor’s life, and then think whether or not you want Donald Trump to become president. I think if you frame it in that way, I think that people will end up voting for Clinton.”
Towards the end of their spirited chat, Sen. Sanders also seemed to echo Hillary Clinton’s recent “alt-right” speech castigating Trump for dog-whistling to his many racist supporters.
“I’ve got seven grandchildren and I do not want them growing up under a Trump presidency,” Sanders shouted. “It’s not just the tax breaks for the rich and the denial of the reality of climate change, it is that he has made bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign. This country has struggled since its inception in terms of what we did to the Native Americans, in terms of slavery, in terms of all kinds of discrimination. We have fought so hard to try to become a less discriminatory society. In many respects, we have succeeded, we have come a long way: gay rights, women’s rights, we have made real progress. I do not want to see this country recede and go back to where one group is scapegoating another group. That is not where we can go. And I’m going to do everything I can to prevent that from happening.”