Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in an interview Wednesday that he is not ruling out a 2020 presidential run — despite an FBI investigation into a land deal his wife made when she was head of a Vermont college, and a possible longshot challenge for his Senate seat from a Democratic challenger.
“No I am not taking it off the table,” he said in response to a question on SiriusXM Progress channel’s Make It Plain With Mark Thompson. “I just have not made any decisions, and I think it’s much too early”
Sanders, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2016 Democratic Party nomination against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, is under the spotlight for a land deal his wife Jane made as president of Burlington College in 2010.
The FBI is reportedly looking into the deal, specifically allegations that she overstated the amount of donations she had secured to pay back to the loan. There are also allegations that Sen. Sanders put pressure on bank officials to approve the loan. Sanders denies those allegations. Mrs. Sanders resigned in 2011 and the college shut down in 2016, in part because of the enormous debt it had accrued with the college expansion.
But while Bernie would not rule a 2020 run out, he said his focus right now is on opposing President Trump and pushing his own socialist agenda:
Our job right now is to not only fight against this disastrous health care proposal, it is to take on all of Trump’s reactionary proposals. He is a representative of the billionaire class. He’s at war against the working class. We’ve got to raise the minimum wage right now, working on that, to 15 bucks an hour. We have got to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. We’ve got to be aggressive on criminal justice reform. There’s a whole lot of fights that we have to fight. It’s just too early to be talking about an election three and a half years from now.
Sanders may be right that it’s too early to be talking about the 2020 election, considering he may have a serious challenger in 2018 for his Senate seat in Vermont from Democratic challenger and homeless advocate Jon Svitavsky.
Svitavsky told Breitbart News he blamed Sanders for Clinton’s defeat in 2016:
The central reason [for running] is my real, serious alarm about how Senator Sanders handled the primaries and the lack of integrity and honesty of his campaign against Hillary,” he said. “Ultimately the result was that he split the Democrats and threw the election to Donald Trump. That was a real betrayal of all the things Sen. Sanders seemingly stands for.
Svitavsky, although he has no experience of running for office and is running a longshot campaign, looks like he may be a thorn in Sanders’ side. In an interview with Fox News Thursday, He said it is time for Sanders’ “Robin Hood schtick” to end.
“It’s shamefully arrogant when you’re more interested in being a celebrity than honoring your progressive agenda,” he said. “This wonderful, political ‘I am Robin Hood schtick’ can only last for so long.”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY