- Following President Donald Trump’s prime-time address, Bernie Sanders on Tuesday said the biggest threat facing the US was climate change, not immigration.
- The Vermont senator also said Trump should focus on providing healthcare and addressing college debt or poverty.
- “The scientific community has made it very clear in telling us that climate change is real and is causing devastating harm to our country and the entire planet,” Sanders said in his rebuttal.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont issued a fiery rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s prime-time address Tuesday night: Climate change is a bigger threat to the US than what Sanders called the “artificial” immigration crisis Trump was talking about.
Sanders’ nine-minute speech came in response to the president’s Oval Office address, in which Trump made the case for a wall along the southern US border in part by saying it was immoral for Congress “to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized” by criminals and drugs entering the US. Fact-checkers disputed many of Trump’s claims afterward, as did Sanders.
“It gives me no pleasure to tell you what most of you already know, and that is that President Trump lies all of the time,” Sanders said in his speech. “In his remarks tonight and in recent weeks regarding immigration and the wall, he continues to lie.”
The partial government shutdown reached its 18th day Tuesday as Congress continued to resist Trump’s demand that any spending bill to reopen the government must include $US5.7 billion for a border wall.
In his speech, Sanders said the government shutdown “should never have happened.”
“Mr. President, we don’t need to create artificial crises – we have enough real crises,” the Vermont senator said in his rebuke, reminding viewers that Trump said he’d take responsibility for the shutdown.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered their own rebuttal to Trump, which focused on the unity of the Democratic Party against Trump’s demands for a border wall. Sanders’ speech focused more on areas he thought the president and Congress should be focusing.
Sanders listed off student debt, poverty, healthcare, and the government shutdown’s effects on federal workers and Americans who depend on federal services as things Trump should prioritise over a border wall. Climate change, however, was No. 1 on his list of crises for America.
In his speech, Sanders addressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly, saying the Senate should vote immediately to end the shutdown.
“Sen. McConnell, let’s vote to end this shutdown now,” he said. “President Trump tonight has told us why he believes we need the wall. It gives me no pleasure to tell you what most of you already know, and that is that President Trump lies all of the time. And in his remarks tonight and in recent weeks regarding immigration and the wall, he continues to lie.”
McConnell has said the Senate will not vote on a spending bill that lacks support from Trump.
Watch Sanders’ entire speech here:
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