Bernie Sanders Says Trump ‘Tough Guy’ When Cutting Healthcare For Kids, Not So Tough Confronting Dictators

Sanders has been amongst the most vocal critics of Trump's failure to condemn Saudi Arabia for killing 'Washington Post' reporter Jamal Khashoggi.

Donald Trump makes a public statement.
Alex Edelman-Pool / Getty Images

Sanders has been amongst the most vocal critics of Trump's failure to condemn Saudi Arabia for killing 'Washington Post' reporter Jamal Khashoggi.

Donald Trump is a “tough guy” when it comes to cutting healthcare for kids, but when it’s time to confront a dictator who murdered a journalist — he’s not so tough any more, Bernie Sanders says.

The Vermont Senator took to Twitter on Monday to blast the president for his handling of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After a series of changing stories, Saudi Arabia has admitted that its agents killed Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, but claimed that he died after a “fist fight” broke out.

Though reports and alleged recordings from Turkish intelligence show that he was actually tortured and killed, Donald Trump said initially that the Saudi explanation of what happened was “credible.” That has led to widespread criticism of Trump, with many politicians proposing sanctions for Saudi Arabia — and others claiming that Trump’s deep financial ties to the kingdom have left him unable to confront them for the killing.

Bernie Sanders is now amongst those critics. He pointed out that Donald Trump has modeled himself as a “tough guy” but cannot confront Saudi Arabia for the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Shortly after having posted his tweet, Sanders saw it liked and retweeted several thousand times.

Sanders has often been critical of the actions of Saudi Arabia, specifically new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — a fact that did not escape Jamal Khashoggi during his life. In a final interview with Newsweek that was only published posthumously, Khashoggi noted that American politicians in both parties have been reluctant to place any pressure on Saudi Arabia for human rights violations — with one notable exception.

“And the world is happy with him,” Khashoggi said of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “Do you see anybody in America except for Bernie Sanders who is calling for putting pressure on MBS? I only saw Bernie Sanders, but no one else.”

Sanders has also been a frequent critic of Donald Trump, especially when it comes to healthcare. When Trump was leading the charge to repeal Obamacare, Sanders was amongst the most vocal in defending the program — even though he had his own plans to roll out a proposal for a more universally applied solution.

“Bernie has repeated to us over and over and over again, ‘Our top priority is doing everything in our power to make sure 20 million people don’t lose their health care,'” Ari Rabin-Havt, a senior adviser to Sanders, told Vox.

Donald Trump has not yet said if he would support sanctions on Saudi Arabia in response to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.