Bernie Sanders Says Donald Trump Is Turning The United States Into A ‘Police State’

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports and addressed Donald Trump’s recent decision to deploy federal law enforcement officers into Portland, Oregon, to quell the civil unrest that continues to grip the city. As reported by Breitbart, the former presidential candidate suggested that Trump’s action is part of his attempt to turn the U.S. into a “police state.”

“I don’t want to get people too nervous here, but we have a president who really does not believe in democracy,” Sanders said.

The 78-year-old politician accused Trump of attempting to suppress American votes, ignoring the will of Congress, and not respecting the First Amendment, noting his disdain for the media. He then turned to Trump’s decision to deploy federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) against the will of local leaders.

“That is, Andrea, what a police state is about. That is what a movement toward authoritarianism is about,” Sanders said.

The progressive leader called on Americans to voice their support of democracy — regardless of political disagreements — and show support for the right of governors to retain power and influence over their respective states.

“A president cannot send troops wherever he wants to quash dissent. People have a First Amendment right to protest. Now, obviously all of us hope that those protests are not violent, I think that’s counterproductive. But you cannot as a president send troops willy-nilly. That is what a police state is about.”

Sanders previously claimed that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — unlike Trump — understands the importance of the current moment. He pointed to the many existential threats facing the planet, including the high unemployment amid the coronavirus pandemic, and argued that Biden is a leader that can provide a path forward.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for an event about 'Operation Legend: Combating Violent Crime in American Cities' in the East Room of the White House July 22, 2020 in Washington, DC

Despite pushback from figures like Sanders, Trump does not appear to be planning to halt his current strategy to deal with the civil unrest. As reported by CBC, Trump said on Wednesday that he would be sending more federal officers into Chicago and Albuquerque, both Democrat-run cities. The announcement continues the real estate mogul’s “law and order” approach to dealing with the cities he claims are “plagued by violent crime.”

In an op-ed for The Guardian, Andrew Gawthorpe argued that Trump is attempting to create a “violent spectacle” that portrays him as cracking down on Democratic cities with high minority populations.

Gawthorpe paralleled the recent events with Trump’s decision to send the U.S. military to the southern border to combat an alleged migrant caravan in the weeks before the 2018 midterm elections.