Transcript: Sen. Bernie Sanders on "Face the Nation," July 7, 2024


The following is a transcript of an interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent, on “Face the Nation” that aired on July 7, 2024.


ROBERT COSTA: We’re joined now by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. He joins us from Burlington, Vermont. Senator Sanders, Good morning. You just heard from some Democratic voters in those battleground states, you’re a leading voice on the left in this country. Does President Biden now have your full support?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: President Biden can clearly defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in the history of this country. And the choice is quite clear. You got in Trump, somebody wants to take away a woman’s right to control her body, who thinks that climate change is a hoax, And it has turned his back on the working class of this country. And on the other side, you have Joe Biden, first president in American history to walk a picket line; we have put more money into fighting climate change than any time in the history of this country; we’re rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. But this I do want to say and where I am critical of the Biden campaign: it’s one thing to talk about your record over the last three-and-a-half years, which is a strong record, but the American people are hurting. Sixty percent of our people living paycheck to paycheck. Twenty five percent of elderly people are trying to get by on $15,000 a year or less. The American people want an agenda for the next four years that speaks to the needs of the working class of this country. So frankly, I don’t think the President has brought that agenda forward. He has got to say, I am prepared to take on corporate greed, massive income and wealth inequality and stand with the working class in this country. He does that, he’s going to win, and win big.

ROBERT COSTA: So that’s your advice for President Biden, you want him to stand with working voters, talk about labor, talk about the minimum wage and those issues. But politically, can he count on you to be on the campaign trail for him this summer and fall? Can he count on your support?

SEN. SANDERS: I’ve already done six events in Wisconsin, we’ve been to New York, I’ve been to Ohio. And let’s- let me say this, and maybe the most important point, Bob, I want to make this morning: what we’re talking about now is not a Grammy Award contest for best singer. Biden is old, he’s not as articulate as he once was. I wish he could jump up the steps on Air Force One. He can’t. What we have got to focus on is policy. Whose policies have and will benefit the vast majority of the people in this country? Who wants the guts to take on corporate America? Who is talking about expanding Medicare so we cover dental, hearing and vision? Who’s talking about raising the cap on the taxes that people pay into Social Security so we can raise social security benefits and extend the life of Social Security for 75 years? Who’s talking about a permanent child tax credit to cut childhood poverty in America by 50%? Those are the issues he’s talked about. He’s got to bring them up in the floor. He’s got to promise the American people that if they give him a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, reelect him, he’s gonna do that in the first 100 days. That’s what I think the American people want.

ROBERT COSTA: No doubt, Senator. This campaign, about the issues about how policy affects people. It’s also about how people see the stakes. Let’s listen to what President Biden had to say on Friday about what happens if Pres- former President Trump wins the election.

[BEGIN SOT]

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: If you stay in and Trump is elected and everything you’re warning about comes to pass, how will you feel in January?

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: BIDEN: I’ll feel as long as I gave it my all and I did the goodest job as I know I can do, that’s what this is about.

[END SOT]

ROBERT COSTA: You just heard that Senator Sanders. How would you feel if former President Trump wins in November?

SEN. SANDERS: Well, I would feel awful as somebody who has opposed virtually all of Trump’s policies. And I would feel awful if the American people lost the democracy, which we’ve had for 250 years. And I would feel awful if we turned our back on the existential threat of climate change. But this is not about how I feel, it’s not about how you feel, it is not even about how Joe Biden feels. It’s about how we win this election. And maybe what we should be doing is creating a Democratic Party with Biden at the top that stands with the working class of this country. I will tell you this, whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent: the American people are disillusioned, they are angry, they think that government is busy paying attention to the rich and wealthy campaign donors. And by the way, I find it personally insulting that The New York Times and all these media organizations go out front page “This is what the billionaire campaign donors feel.” Well, to hell with the billionaire campaign donors. Let’s worry about the working class of this country and what their needs are. And let hopefully–

ROBERT COSTA: –Is he- is he President Biden talking to you–

SEN. SANDERS: –Biden put his agenda that speaks to their needs. He will win–

ROBERT COSTA: –We know the Pres- is the President talking to you? You’re traveling the country talking to working voters. I’ve seen all the video of you meeting with union members. Has he spoken to you in recent days? And is the White House listening to your advice at all, the campaign?

SEN. SANDERS: Yes, he has spoken to me in recent days and I hope to be meeting on a regular basis with the White House to hammer out an agenda that speaks to the needs of the vast majority of the people who believe that both parties have turned their backs on them. Right now, we have more income and wealth inequality than we’ve had in the history of this country, the billionaire class has never done better. Hey, how about standing up for the working class of this country for a change? If Biden does that, he’s going to win, he will win big.

ROBERT COSTA: Senator Warner of Virginia is collecting colleagues to have a discussion about the future of the ticket. Have you been invited? Will you participate? And what do you think of those talks?

SEN. SANDERS: No. Look, Mark is a friend of mine, I like Mark, is one of the more conservative members of the Democratic Caucus. No, I have not been invited. No, I will not attend. I think right now, look, I understand. Biden had a terrible debate performance. I think he’s done better since, he’s got to do better again. And I know that that is a legitimate concern. But I think most importantly, now, this is not a beauty contest, it’s not a Grammy Award contest. It is a contest of who stands with the vast majority of the people in this country, the elderly, the children, working class, the poor. And that candidate is obviously Joe Biden.

ROBERT COSTA: Senator Sanders, I must ask, I covered you closely in 2016 and 2020. You’ve run national campaigns. You’ve been a presidential candidate. You know what it takes. If for whatever reason President Biden ever decided to withdraw from the race, would you be open to being considered as the nominee?

SEN. SANDERS: Well, right now I am running for reelection to the great state of Vermont as their senator. That’s where my focus is right now.

ROBERT COSTA: Senator Sanders, we appreciate your time and Face the Nation. We’ll be back in one minute. Stay with us.



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