Bernie Sanders: Trump Is ‘Trying to Divide Us Up by the Color of Our Skin’

Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation‏,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) accused President Donald Trump of “trying to divide us up by the color of our skin.”

In an exclusive interview Sunday on “Face the Nation,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, discussed President Trump’s recent comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Democratic Party’s trajectory heading into 2018, and much more.

JOHN DICKERSON: Joining us now is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, he’s in Burlington. Senator Sanders, you tweeted something this morning about the president and his meetings overseas. You said, quote, “President Trump has never met a leader of an authoritarian nation that he didn’t like.”

And you named Russia, China, Saudi Arabia. Is that really fair? President Obama hosted a state dinner with the Chinese president. He was quite solicitous of the Saudi king. And he tried a reset with Putin in Russia. Isn’t this what presidents do?

BERNIE SANDERS: No, you want to make friendships. You want to have good relationships. But at the same time, as we have a president attacking the media every day as fake news, encouraging Republican governors around the country to suppress the vote, playing the race card in the sense of trying to divide us up by the color of our skin, by the country that we came from.

While he’s doing all of these things, he has wonderful things to say about Mr. Putin. The idea that he reports back to us that Mr. Putin said that Russia did not have anything to do in terms of interfering with our elections, and he believes him, while he does not believe the intelligence agencies of the United States of America, is beyond absurd.

JOHN DICKERSON: And we’re back with Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator, Democrats had a good week this week, on election day. A lot of analysis has it as a kind of anti-Trump message, that that’s what’s spurring the Democratic Party. Is that healthy for the Democratic Party? Does it paper over some of the internal questions you all are having?

BERNIE SANDERS: Well, John, what was to me most exciting was not only the important victories in Virginia and New Jersey for governor, but also, all over this country, and I think the media hasn’t quite picked up on it yet, you are seeing grassroots activists, people for the very first time, young people, working people, running for state legislature, running for city council, running for school board and winning those elections.

And what I have always believed is that the only way we’re going to transform this country, the only way we’re going to take on the top 1% effectively, is when millions of people get involved in the political process. And that’s what we’re beginning to see. So that excites me very, very much.

I do believe that in many ways the election on Tuesday was a referendum on Trump. And the American people very clearly said: “No. We’re tired of the divisiveness of Trump. We’re tired of his policies designed to give tax breaks to billionaires, to throw 20, 30 million people off of health insurance. That’s not what we want from an administration. We want real change in this country. We want a government that represents all of us, not the 1%.”