With Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders rising in the polls and raising more money than any other Democrat in the race, Donald Trump appears to be shifting his focus toward the Vermont senator, BuzzFeed News reports. Not only did Trump release two statements on Sanders this week, but the president took aim at the 78-year-old advocate during his Toledo, Ohio, rally on Thursday night.
“Bernie is going up. He’s surging. Crazy Bernie is surging,” Trump said.
The attacks are notable as Trump has focused the majority of his attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been — and remains — the frontrunner in the Democratic primary. Along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, the Trump campaign’s email blasts typically targeted Biden. At the same time, BuzzFeed reports they only mentioned Sanders a “handful of times.”
Trump’s campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told BuzzFeed that Sanders is “dangerous” and “cannot be trusted” with the safety of Americans.
According to Mike Casca, the Sanders campaign’s communications director, the president’s recent fixation on the senator reflects his positive prospects.
“It appears the Trump campaign has discovered what we’ve known all along, which is that Bernie Sanders is going to defeat Donald Trump.”
Casca noted Sanders’ long history of standing up for the working class. He pointed to Trump’s alleged failure to live up to his promises to do the same and highlighted the president’s apparent pivot from his non-interventionism beliefs.
“He’s the most corrupt president in American history, and Bernie Sanders is going to sweep him out of the White House.”
Per PBS, the Democratic establishment is also worried that Sanders will be the nominee. In response, establishment Democrats are allegedly warning voters that he would struggle to win this year’s election. However, there are others, such as conservative commentator and The Hill’s Rising co-host Saagar Enjeti, who believe that Sanders could beat Trump.
Enjeti noted a recent Pew Research Center survey that found that almost half of Republican voters believe the current economy is hurting them. He claimed that Trump’s platform — which has reportedly benefited the wealthy the most — would not help working Americans like Sanders’ would, adding that the poll results should be a “huge warning sign” for the president and the GOP elites.
“Trump and the Republicans would do very well to … quickly shift tactics or face the very real possibility of losing the 2020 presidential election, especially against a populist candidate like Bernie Sanders,” Enjeti said.