Trump Privately Praises Bernie Sanders, Even as He Publicly Calls Him Crazy
To his rally-goers, Donald Trump openly craves a 2020 showdown with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), salivating at the prospect of getting to run against an elderly, self-declared democratic socialist.
But in private, his view of a potential run against the senator is a lot more complex and less swaggeringly self-assured.
Those around the president say he’s been of two minds when the topic of facing Sanders in 2020 comes up. While he sees the senator as a vulnerable opponent, he also has offered begrudging respect for his political acumen. Trump will—sometimes unprompted—bring up Sanders’s own working-class support, and acknowledge that there is, in fact, potential for the senator to win over Trump voters with his populist appeal, three sources who’ve discussed this with the president tell The Daily Beast. The president has been impressed with Sanders’ ability to ignite his base and draw a large crowd, though not, in his words, as “good as Trump.” The president has also privately discussed the fundraising hauls that Sanders and his campaign have pulled off, noting Sanders’ impressive track record with small-dollar donors.
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