Bernie Sanders left his ideological bounds during Thursday night’s PBS Democratic debate, when the “Democratic Socialist” Senator revealed he admired Winston Churchill as a foreign policy figure.
At the end of the debate, moderator Judy Woodruff asked the candidates what leaders in history would influence their foreign policy, choosing one American and one foreigner.
Sanders began by praising progressive former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who is an idol on the left because he chose to massively expand the federal government.
“You know, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took the oath of office in 1933 at a time when 25 percent of the American people were unemployed, country was in incredible despair,” Sanders responded. “And he stood before the American people and he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” a profound statement that gave the American people the courage to believe that, yes, we could get out of that terrible Depression.”
He praised FDR for bringing the American people together in a time of crisis and castigated Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and someone who tries to “divide us.”
Sanders then chose Winston Churchill as the foreign leader he most admired, though he did add a caveat that his conservative “politics were not my politics.”
“But nobody can deny that as a wartime leader, he rallied the British people when they stood virtually alone against the Nazi juggernaut and rallied them and eventually won an extraordinary victory,” he concluded.
His debate opponent, Hillary Clinton, also chose FDR, and chose Nelson Mandela as a foreign leader she admires.
Barack Obama is not perceived to be a fan of the renowned British wartime leader.
On one of his first days in the White House, Obama famously returned a bronze bust of Churchill, a gift to former President George W. Bush, to England.
Republicans in Congress were able to re-secure the bust and later present it as a gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.