Government

With reluctance, Bernie Sanders endorses articles of impeachment

Bernie Sanders greets supporters as he walks to the stage to be introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez at the Coral
Bernie Sanders greets supporters as he walks to the stage to be introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

He’s not enthusiastic about it, but Bernie Sanders thinks it would be a “dereliction of duty” if the U.S. House did not approve articles of impeachment.

“I say this with reluctance (because) I’m not happy about it,” the Vermont independent senator said Friday. “But I think we must maintain a certain standard for the presidents of the United States, and that is the standard that President Trump has not maintained.”

Sanders, who is on a campaign swing through Iowa that includes stops in Waterloo on Friday night and an International Brotherhood of Teamsters candidate forum in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, made his remarks during taping of “Iowa Press” on Iowa Public Television, which is changing its name to Iowa PBS in January.

If the U.S. House follows Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion that representatives approve articles of impeachment before their Christmas recess, it’s possible that Sanders and other senators seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination will be off the campaign trail while weighing whether President Donald Trump should be removed from office.

Sanders said Iowans would understand that he and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker can’t be on the Iowa campaign trail while there is work to do in Washington, D.C.

“But I am feeling very good about our situation here in Iowa,” Sanders said. “I think we have more volunteers on the ground than any other campaign. We’ve got a great staff, and I think we stand a good chance, a very strong chance, to win here in Iowa.”

That’s because his is a “campaign of energy and excitement,” Sanders said. His call for a political and economic revolution will attract working people “who understand that much of what Trump told them here in Iowa and around the country turned out to be a lie. He has not been a champion of working people. He is in many ways a fraud.”

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Sanders also sees strength in his ability to attract younger voters. Democrats will need a large voter turnout to defeat Trump in 2020, he said.

“I’m very proud that in 2016 we ended up getting more young people, get votes from young people than Trump and Clinton combined, and that is, I think, replicating itself right now,” Sanders said.

A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this fall found that 35 percent of voters younger than 35 supported Sanders.

A third factor, according to Sanders, is that the ideas he champions — many of them were called “radical” in 2016 — are being enacted and implemented in states.

“When I was here four years ago, I talked about raising that minimum wage to $15 an hour, and everybody said, ‘You’re crazy, it can’t be done,’ ” he said. “Seven states have done it.

“I talked about health care as a human right, the need to pass a ‘Medicare for All’ that has now become part of the popular lexicon,” he said. “I talked about climate change as a national security issue. People didn’t agree with me then. They are agreeing with me now. So I think we’ve got the issues, we’ve got the movement to win here in Iowa and to win the battleground states and defeat Trump.”

Sanders rejected recent criticism by Hillary Clinton, who edged him by less than 1 percent in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, that her campaign was hurt by Sanders delaying his endorsement of her after she captured the Democratic nomination.

“He hurt me, there’s no doubt about it,” Clinton said. “And I hope he doesn’t do it again to whoever gets the nomination. Once is enough.”

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“I’m sorry that Hillary Clinton is rerunning 2016,” Sanders said. “Right now, our goal is to defeat Donald Trump. I think I am the strongest candidate to do that. If it turns out that I am not the Democratic nominee, I will strongly support anybody else.”

“Iowa Press” can be seen at 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday on IPTV, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday on IPTV World and online at www.iptv.org.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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