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CNN audience still feeling “Bern” of 2016 election

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appear onstage together during an event at LaGuardia Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, in New York. Gov. Cuomo announced a proposal for free tuition at state colleges to hundreds of thousands of low- and middle income residents. Under the governor's plan, which requires legislative approval, any college student accepted to a New York public university or two-year community college is eligible, provided their family earns less than $125,000. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, right, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders appear onstage together during an event at LaGuardia Community College, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, in New York. Gov. Cuomo announced a proposal for free tuition at state colleges to hundreds of thousands of low- and middle income residents. Under the governor's plan, which requires legislative approval, any college student accepted to a New York public university or two-year community college is eligible, provided their family earns less than $125,000. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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Bernie Sanders made an appearance on CNN for a town hall hosted by Chris Cuomo that was focused on how he will be continuing his agenda under the Donald Trump presidency. Sanders took questions from Cuomo and audience members on a variety of topics, and here are some of the most “Bernie” remarks on the “uge” issues and topics:

On Trade and Jobs

Sanders made it very clear that while he may have some similarities with Trump when it comes to trade and jobs, he will stand by his campaign’s foundation that the United States should make the economy and trade deals work for the working class, not corporate America. Sanders also commented on American production and employment.

“Yes, I will work with Mr.Trump; I will work with anybody who wants to develop a trade policy which tells corporate America they have to look beyond their greed. They need to look at the needs of the American people.”

“We can’t get everything from China and Mexico, you know, occasionally you have to buy a product made in the United States of America.”

“If automation can replace jobs do we just throw those workers out on the street, or do we have an obligation to retrain them for other jobs to provide extended employment and educational opportunities?”

Like always, Sanders made sure to repeat the heart of his campaign.

“People forget, Chris, that we are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and our job now is to create a government which represents all of the people, not just the one percent.”

On Climate

“Well, it is rather ironic that Mr. Trump has nominated somebody to head the EPA who doesn’t much believe in environmental protection.”

“Let me be as clear as I can be: I happen to agree with the overwhelming majority of scientists who believe that climate change is real [and] that it is caused by human activity.”

“It is insane for elected officials to say (in a mocking tone) ‘Well, I’m not sure about climate change. I’m not a scientist’. That is nonsense.”

On Education

After Cuomo introduced the concept that many Americans did not want to pay for someone else to go to college, Sanders answered with an analogy to what Americans are already doing for public schooling.

“This business of making you pay for somebody else, you’re doing it today! This is called society. This is called democracy. You are now paying taxes so that some kid can go to public school today. All I’m asking you, Chris, is to pay a little bit more in taxes so that somebody can go to college as well.”

On Immigrants and Diversity

“We are a unique and great country because of our diversity. That is what makes us great. Of all of the things that Trump talked about in his campaign, what troubled me the most was that after all of the generations of great people trying to bring us together..to see a man elected president who campaigned on dividing us up.”

“Please tell your students that there are many of us in the Congress, not just democrats or progressives, who will do everything that we can to protect those beautiful children.”

“Whether you are Muslim, or I am Jewish, or there is somebody who is Catholic, or there is somebody who is Protestant, or who comes from Mexico, in my case my father from Poland, or somebody from Ireland, or a family from Italy, so what? That is America, and we judge people on who they are, not where their grandfather came from or their religion.”

“There are good Muslims, bad Muslims, good Jews, bad Jews, good Catholics, bad Catholics; we judge people on who they are, not on their religion.”

On Media

“Media likes to jump two months in advance, let’s take it one day at a time.”

“What is important for us to be doing today is not worrying about who is going to be a candidate for president four years from now, CNN likes that.”

 

In the arguably most humorous and “Bernie” moment of the night, Sanders danced around his vote for Trump’s nominees for Attorney General and Head of the EPA. When CNN host Chris Cuomo called him out for his equivocation, Sanders admitted to his “politeness”.

“All that I am doing here is trying to be polite!”

*audience laughs*

“If I say I am going to vote against these guys, [Chris’s] next question would be ‘how can you vote against them when they haven’t gone before you in a hearing!’ I’m trying to be polite.”

Cuomo – “Are you going to vote for them or against them?”

“Before I vote, I want to hear what they have to say.”

Cuomo – “Does it matter what they say if-”

“Of course it matters what they say! You know, I think I know what they are going to say, but I think you have to give people the courtesy.”

Cuomo – “So you are not inclined to vote for them?”

“Good. Thank you. Are you a lawyer?”

 

In perhaps the most confrontational question and answer session of the night, Sanders rebutted an allegation that he “demonized” the wealthy people of America by targeting them in his economic plan. Sanders ended the conversation by labeling the clear differences in opinion as an important aspect of American government.

“I don’t demonize anybody. What I try to do is state the facts, and the facts are, in my view, that corporate greed is destroying our economy, and it’s doing incalculable harm to the working families of this country.

“Do you think it makes sense that we give very large tax breaks to billionaires, and then cut back on education and health care? Does that make sense to you?

“No.” – Audience member

“Well it doesn’t make sense to me, and it doesn’t make sense for the vast majority of the American people.”

“You have people sitting at the top of the pharmaceutical industry, who last year the top five drug companies made fifty billion dollars in profits, while the average American cannot afford the medicine he or she needs. Am I demonizing or is that a fact?”

“I think you and I have a disagreement about trade policies, but that’s what democracy is about.”

Whether or not you have ever “felt the Bern”, it is indubitable that Sanders has, since the beginning, stuck to his campaign’s core. His unwavering spirit and hope for the country shined in the CNN town hall and will likely shine throughout the country in the coming months as political leaders begin to take stands and make decisions during the Trump presidency.

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