President Donald Trump on Thursday acknowledged how instrumental Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) supporters were in his 2016 victory, saying they were “a big part” of the difference between himself and Hillary Clinton.
Trump acknowledged that some of his supporters “voted for Bernie Sanders” during the Democratic primaries because “he was right about trade.” Trump pointed out that Sanders said, “We’re getting ripped off on trade.”
Trump made his remarks at a “Next Generation” millennial forum at the White House after he announced tariffs that will take aim at $50 billion worth of various Chinese imports.
“I got a lot of Sanders voters,” Trump said. “That was a big part of the difference between Hillary Clinton and myself.”
Trump said his winning coalition included those who had rarely voted in elections in addition to some blue-collar voters who had voted for Obama.
“Democrats are looking for these people right now,” he quipped.
Both Sanders and Trump opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement during the primaries and made trade one of the centerpieces of their campaigns.
After the election, Hillary Clinton’s top adviser, Philippe Reines, concended that Clinton’s waffling on trade issues was a huge reason why she lost.
MSNBC host Ari Melber asked Reines last year, “Was trade and TPP a big factor in her loss? Yes or no?”
Reines responded, “absolutely yes.”