Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday evening took aim at the legislative record of 2020 Democratic primary rival former Vice President Joe Biden, calling Biden—who also served in the U.S. Senate representing Delaware for 36 years—the wrong candidate to take on President Donald Trump in the general election this November.
Sanders hit Biden on voting for the Iraq War, a pattern of supporting disastrous trade deals, and Biden’s many efforts as a lawmaker to cut social programs.
“I just don’t think that that kind of record is going to bring forth the kind energy we need to defeat Trump,” Sanders told CNN‘s Anderson Cooper.
Presidential candidate @BernieSanders hammers Joe Biden for his Iraq War, NAFTA votes.
“I just don’t think that that kind of record is going to bring forth the kind energy we need to defeat Trump.” pic.twitter.com/3JIIVCNE48
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) January 7, 2020
Sanders has recently focused on providing a contrast between the two men’s decades-long records of public service. Biden’s longtime, consistent support for cutting Social Security and Medicare and tax breaks for the wealthy are a stark difference from Sanders’ career goals of expanding social programs and taxing the rich.
“Joe Biden has been on the floor of the Senate talking about the need to cut Social Security or Medicare or Medicaid,” said Sanders.
Campaign speechwriter David Sirota shared video of Biden doing just that in 1995.
JOE BIDEN: “When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare & Medicaid. I meant veterans’ benefits….And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a 3rd time & I tried it a 4th time.”https://t.co/TpoSdmjGhA pic.twitter.com/MIAx4nO9Qa
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) January 2, 2020
On CNN Monday, Sanders also hit Biden for supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement and being a booster of former President George W. Bush’s war on Iraq.
“Do you think that’s going to play well in Michigan, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania?” Sanders asked Cooper.
According to New York Magazine, the answer to that question from progressives and Sanders is, “not well”:
Biden’s record, the Vermont senator said, won’t inspire young people and working people. It will also allow President Trump to attack him in some of the Rust Belt states Democrats are trying to claw back from the GOP. Sanders’s conclusion? Biden won’t be able to “bring forth the energy we need to beat Trump.”
The two frontrunners for the 2020 Democratic nod, Sanders and Biden are locked in tight battles in Iowa and New Hampshire, which caucus and cast votes respectively to officially kick off the primary starting next month. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg round out the top contenders in the Democratic field.