Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday called President Donald Trump a "disgrace" whose most recent attacks on Baltimore and Congressman Elijah Cummings were an attempt to divide the nation along racial lines.
The independent senator from Vermont and 2020 presidential candidate appeared on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, where host Jake Tapper brought up Trump's Saturday tweets about Cummings' congressional district in Maryland, which includes a large chunk of Baltimore.
In that original tweet, Trump dubbed the city a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" and claimed that "No human being would want to live there."
However, Tapper pointed out in his opening remarks on State of the Union that "718,000 human beings live in Cummings' district and President Trump is their president as well, though he apparently views them and the city of Baltimore as someone else's responsibility."
When Sanders was asked about the president's Cummings tweets, the senator said it was "unbelievable that we have a President of the United States who attacks American cities, who attacks Americans, who attacks somebody who is a friend of mine."
The senator then went on to praise Cummings, who Sanders described as "one of the most decent and outstanding members of the House of Representatives; he fights every day to improve life in his community."
Sanders implied that there was an apparent hypocrisy in Trump's targeting of impoverished conditions in predominantly African American inner cities.
"I do find it interesting that when we have rural Republican districts, the life expectancy is going down, where downtowns are boarded up, where people are struggling," said the senator. "And people are struggling in rural America, they're struggling in urban America, they're struggling in suburban America. Our job is to bring people together to improve life for all people, not to have a racist president who attacks people because they are African Americans. That is a disgrace, and that is why we're gonna defeat this president."
Tapper then asked Sanders if he was concerned that Trump's "racist attacks" would be effective in rallying support from voters.
"No, I don't," said the candidate. "I think that at the end of the day the American people understand that whether you're black, whether you're white, whether you're Latino, Asian American, Native American, what we need is an agenda that works for all of us and not have a president who divides us up."
Sanders then listed a number of his campaign points that he believed have widespread support — universal healthcare, affordable prescriptions, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and removal of the massive student debt burden.
"The American people are behind those issues," said the senator. "They will not accept a president trying to divide us up by the color of our skin or where we were born."