Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the United States has been slipping toward authoritarianism under President Trump and that citizens have an “enormous obligation” to protect American freedom.
The runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination last year delivered his scathing critique of the administration in a speech Thursday morning discussing the threat of authoritarianism in both the U.S. and other countries.
“Under President Trump, our country is moving in an authoritarian direction and the very nature of American democracy is under attack,” Sanders said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Before outlining why he thinks Trump is leading the U.S. toward authoritarianism, Sanders criticized the new health care bill unveiled by Senate Republicans Thursday morning. The draft bill they plan to bring to a vote as early as next week is the latest move in Republicans’ seven-year effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and remove the taxes it imposes on high-income individuals.
“I am unalterably opposed to the Trump-Republican health care plans. The plan has passed in the House, as you know, and was just released a few minutes ago in the Senate. I’m going to do everything that I can to defeat the Trump-Ryan health care proposal, but that should not be a shock to anybody,” Sanders said.
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Sanders, who supports universal health care, acknowledged that his Republican counterparts have significant policy disagreements on these serious issues, but said there is one fundamental issue upon which there should be no debate.
“And that is, no matter what our political view — whether we are progressives, conservatives or moderates — we must do everything that we can to preserve American democracy and oppose the current drift toward authoritarianism that I believe President Trump represents.”