Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "would have loved to run against" former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, he told The New York Times' Maureen Dowd. "He's a fraud and he's a phony," Sanders said of Trump. "That's what he is, and he has to be exposed for that."
But he retains a different attitude toward many of Trump's supporters, whom he says he wants to reach out to soon, seemingly when he gets a break from his work on infrastructure legislation. Sanders told Dowd that the "Democratic elite" doesn't always "fully appreciate" the need to speak to the struggles of the white working class, reflecting a message he often relayed throughout his presidential campaigns. "We've got to take it to them," Sanders said, referring to the aforementioned demographic. "I intend, as soon as I have three minutes, to start going into Trumpworld and start talking to people."
Sanders told Dowd "it's absolutely imperative if democracy is to survive that we do everything that we can to say, 'Yes, we hear your pain and we are going to respond to your needs.'" If Democrats fail to do that, Sanders added, he fears "very much that conspiracy theories and big lies and the drift toward authoritarianism" will continue. Read more from Dowd's sit-down with Sanders at The New York Times.