Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders promises to “look at” dismantling the existing southern border wall with Mexico if elected president, because he thinks it sends a bad message.
Sanders took aim at the border wall in Des Moines, Iowa on Monday during the 2020 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum, where he touted plans to end “99% of deportations” – including for violent criminals.
“You said the wall is symbolic … so wouldn’t it be proper to tear that symbol down in order to achieve that?” moderator Alzo Slade asked Sanders at the event, which was sponsored by Vice News.
Sanders said it depends on the dollars.
“It may be, but you know it’s how much is it going to cost to tear it down?” he said. “Should you do that, tear it down? I don’t know, maybe the answer is yes.”
“That’s something you’re willing to consider? You’re willing to consider tearing down existing fencing between the U.S. and Mexico?” moderator David Noriega chimed in.
“Yeah, I’ll always look,” Sanders said, “but again if it’s going to cost me billions of dollars to tear it down, I’d rather invest that maybe in the needs for child care in this country.
“But it’s, you know, we can look at,” he said.
The promise to consider tearing down the border wall was one of many of Sanders’ big ideas at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, the oldest minority-focused presidential forum in the U.S.
“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour: Is that radical? Canceling all student debt: Radical? Dealing with climate change: Radical? Immigration reform: Radical? Criminal justice reform: Radical? Protecting a woman’s right to control her own body: Radical?” – @BernieSanders pic.twitter.com/Drh2T30YwX
— VICE News (@vicenews) January 20, 2020
Sanders was among eight vying for the Democratic nomination to take on Trump in 2020. Others included Senators Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet and Amy Klobuchar, former vice president Joe Biden, Asian entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former congressman John Delaney, and former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.
During Sanders’ time on stage, he took offense to the notion that his “radical” agenda could be a liability in the general election against Trump, Vice News reports.
“Guaranteeing healthcare to all people through a Medicare for All program, is that radical?” Sanders asked the crowd rhetorically.
“Raising the minimum age to 15 bucks an hour, is that radical? Making all public colleges and universities tuition-free, canceling all student debt through a tax on Wall Street speculation: radical? Dealing with climate change: radical? Immigration reform: radical? Criminal justice reform – radical? Protecting a woman’s right to control her body – radical? Sane gun policy – radical?” he continued, as the crowd chanted “no” between questions.
“I beg your pardon,” he said.
Sanders highlighted his planned moratorium on deporting illegal immigrants, support for the socialist Green New Deal, and vendetta against the fossil fuel industry.