Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) lashed out at moderate Democrats on Tuesday during the second presidential debate, saying he was “tired” of his those “afraid of big ideas.”
Sanders, who openly identifies as Democratic socialist and was an independent prior to announcing his presidential run, made the comments when criticized by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) over his climate change agenda.
Sanders responded by declaring he was “tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas” like the Green New Deal and holding oil companies accountable for global warming.
“I get a little bit tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas,” Sanders said “Republicans are not afraid of big ideas … they can bail out the crooked on Wall Street, so please don’t tell me we can’t take on the fossil fuel industry and nothing happens unless we do that.”
He added that “on this issue” there was “no choice … if we love our children and if we want to leave them a planet that is healthy and is habitable.”
Climate change was not the only issue that Sanders and his progressive counterpart, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), faced criticism on from moderates like Ryan, Bullock, and former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD).
During an earlier portion of the debate, Delaney lambasted Sanders for his signature Medicare for All proposal.
“We can create a universal health care system to give everyone basic health care for free, and I have a proposal to do it, but we don’t have to go around and be the party of subtraction and telling half the country with private health insurance their health insurance is illegal,” Delaney said.
Warren came to Sanders’ defense on the topic, saying that as Democrats the party was not supposed to use “Republican talking points” to oppose universal healthcare.
“We are the Democrats. We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That’s what the Republicans are trying to do,” she said in response to Delaney. “We should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care.”