As President Donald Trump takes the stage at his rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tuesday night, one of the top candidates on his mind will be Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
The president told followers of his social media over the weekend to “stay tuned” regarding Sanders and his presidential campaign.
“Wow!” he wrote. “Crazy Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, looking very good against his opponents in the Do-Nothing Party. So what does this all mean? Stay tuned!”
“Stay tuned” from Trump usually signals the debut of a fresh onslaught of attacks against an opponent, suggesting that the president might have something special planned.
The Trump campaign already shifted to attack Sanders after the senator criticized the president’s successful campaign to eliminate Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani — as the veteran war protester appeared to sympathize with Iran more than the United States.
Bernie led the Democrat field by condemning Trump for assassinating Soleimani as supporters mocked Democrats who dared to say that the Iranian general was evil.
“Over the last two weeks Bernie Sanders has proven himself to be dangerous by excusing and appeasing Iran’s aggression and belligerence,” Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said to Breitbart News.
Murtaugh noted that Sanders was critical of Trump for calling Soleimani a terrorist and described the Iranian Quds force commander’s death as an “assassination.”
“These are talking points straight from the Iranians themselves or even the Russians,” he continued. “Bernie Sanders would not protect American interests as president and his weakness is something that begs to be highlighted.”
The president’s renewed attention on Sanders has delighted Team Bernie, according to sources close to his campaign, who see it as a validation of their campaign surge.
But the Trump campaign said that their team had no preference for any specific candidate in the Democrat presidential field.
“[W]e have no preference of who the eventual opponent is because President Trump will trounce any one of them,” Murtaugh said. “It truly doesn’t matter because the set of issues will be the same and the Democrat candidate will be running on big government socialism and American weakness.”
The Trump campaign is running a newspaper ad in the Des Moines Register ahead of Tuesday night’s Democrat debate, pointing to the “big government socialism” proposed by Democrats — featuring an image of Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and former Vice President Joe Biden (D).
Trump recently expressed amazement that Bernie was recovering his support after his dip in the polls.
“Bernie is going up. He’s surging.” Trump said in Toledo, Ohio, last week. “Crazy Bernie, he’s surging!”
Trump famously tells supporters that he does not want to attack the Democrats too hard, saving the best attacks for the general election.
“We’re just going to take our time, and we’re going to relax,” Trump said in Toledo. “And you’re going to join some rallies about a month before; you’re going to hear the real facts.”
But the president can not resist commenting a little bit on Sanders, after coining the nickname “Crazy Bernie” in 2016.
“He is indeed crazy,” Trump said about Sanders last week.
Sources close to the president say he frequently asks about Biden or Sanders and which would be better to face in the general election.
Democrats, Trump said, were all taking their talking points from “socialist” Sanders.
“Democrats are taking their cues from socialist Bernie Sanders and that group,” Trump said, connecting the veteran Vermont senator with the “Squad” of leftist members of Congress, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
He mocked the famous Democrat socialist for his Medicare for All plan that would cost over $32 trillion and strip private health insurance from 180 million Americans.
The Des Moines Register poll showing Sanders leading the field with 20 percent support, cementing the notion that the veteran senator was now the front-runner. Sanders still earns strong support in New Hampshire and Nevada polls.
Democrats are now contemplating the notion that the Sanders surge is real. If Sanders wins the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, he will have considerable momentum going into the rest of the Democrat primary states.
Warren kicked off the week lashing out against her Democrat Senate colleague, a sign she is worried about his sudden boost in support.
Trump also weighed in on the clash between two of the top Democrat candidates.
“Elizabeth is very angry at Bernie. Do I see a feud brewing?” he asked on Twitter on Monday.