Donald Trump has been a lot tougher on immigrant children than he has on Vladimir Putin, potential 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said at a rally on Friday.
Speaking before a large and enthusiastic crowd in the normally red state of Kansas, Sanders knocked the president for his failure to stand up to the Russian president for the country’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. As The Hill noted, Sanders said Trump in fact seemed to be a lot tougher when the target was immigrant children who could do nothing to fight back than the leader of a country that carried out a sophisticated cyber attack on the United States.
“We say to Trump, instead of showing us your strength by tearing children from their families, where was your strength in standing up to Putin and Russia for undermining American democracy?” Sanders said to the cheering crowd. “How courageous he is to tear children from their families, how cowardly he is to stand up to people who are trying to undermine not only American democracy but other aspects of our lives.”
Sanders was appearing at a rally to support a Democratic Congressional candidate in Kansas, and spoke alongside fellow democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Sanders has been floated as a potential 2020 Democratic candidate, though the Vermont Senator has not yet made his intentions known.
The criticism came after what many considered the most difficult week of Donald Trump’s presidency. He was sharply criticized by members of both parties after a summit with Vladimir Putin and a press conference in which he sided with the Russian president over American intelligence agencies, saying he believed Putin’s denial that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Though Trump later tried to walk back those comments, the criticism has continued after Trump revealed plans to invite Putin for a visit to Washington later in the fall.
Another new report seemed to back up Bernie Sanders’ idea that Trump purposely went soft on Putin. A story on Friday from the Wall Street Journal noted that Trump was briefed on a plan to strongly confront Vladimir Putin with the indictment of 12 Russian military officers, with the Justice Department saying Trump should “shove it in Putin’s face and look strong doing it.” But Trump decided not to follow through on the plan, and instead spoke in positive terms of Putin in the press conference afterward for his “strong” denial that Russia had any involvement.