Senator Bernie Sanders says his universal health plan would include access to government services for illegal immigrants, clarifying a position he took but was not allowed to explain during the first presidential debate of the 2020 election.
Moderator Savannah Guthrie asked candidates for a show of hands on the issue. All ten Democrats debating that evening endorsed the notion, earning immediate scorn from President Donald Trump, who bashed Sanders as ‘Crazy Bernie’ in another tweet later.
Several were asked to defend their position, while Sanders, who had already received questions on healthcare, was passed over for a rebuttal.
He told DailyMail.com after the debate that health insurance should not be a barrier to urgent medical treatment to a sick child.
‘If there is a child in a school who is undocumented and that child becomes seriously ill, what do you do? You let the child die? Does anyone think that that’s appropriate?’ he asked. ‘If a child has something that is contagious. Do you say, oh we’re not going to take care of that kid, he can get the rest of the classroom sick?
‘So, undocumented people, last I heard, are human beings,’ he said.
Senator Bernie Sanders says his universal health plan would include access to government services for illegal immigrants, clarifying a position he took but was not allowed to explain during the first presidential debate of the 2020 election
The democratic socialist who has driven the Democratic Party to the outer limits, said ‘healthcare for all’ must truly be defined as coverage for everyone. That includes undocumented immigrants who broke the law to enter America.
‘I am going to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship. But certainly, in the meantime, I believe in the right of health care for all people – all people – and that includes the undocumented,’ he said in the post-debate interview.
Candidates had 45 seconds to make their closing arguments. Sanders used his time to make a case for his political revolution without explicitly addressing the issue of illegal immigration.
He told DailyMail.com the time allotted by NBC, the network hosting the debate, wasn’t enough to drill down on complex topics.
‘Look, look, look. In 45 seconds – I have to be honest with you, and tell you this particular format is not my favorite format,’ the repeat contender said. ‘And it’s hard, I know, when you have 10 candidates up there and everybody wants to talk. But how do you deal with complicated economic issues or environmental issues in 45 seconds? It’s kind of hard.’
He argued, ‘So it becomes kind of a game show, and kind of a reality TV.
‘You have a president in Trump who is doing something that is really quite despicable, and by that I mean not only ignoring the reality of climate change, not only giving tax breaks to the rich, not only wanting to throw 32 million people off of health insurance.
‘What he’s doing in terms of the immigrant community is even worse. What he is doing is demonizing people. What he is doing trying to dehumanize them – not only demonize them but dehumanize them. And what he is trying to do, which is really disgraceful, he is trying to divide the American people up based on where they were born, based on the color of their skin, based on their sexual orientation, based on their religion. We have a president who is a bigot, and I think most Americans know that. And that is just disgraceful.’
The question had been about illegal immigrants and whether he effectively made the case that they should have access to healthcare in a Sanders utopia.
He acknowledged that he had not. ‘Not in 45 seconds I didn’t, or 12 seconds, I didn’t,’ he said.
‘But here’s the point, and I think most Americans know. If there is a child in a school who is undocumented and that child becomes seriously ill, what do you do? You let the child die? Does anyone think that that’s appropriate? If a child has something that is contagious. Do you say, oh we’re not going to take care of that kid, he can get the rest of the classroom sick? So, undocumented people, last I heard, are human beings.
‘And I am going to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship. But certainly, in the meantime, I believe in the right of health care for all people – all people – and that includes the undocumented.’
He oriented his attacks on Donald Trump, bashing the sitting, Republican president a ‘phony,’ a ‘pathological liar’ and a ‘racist’ as he has on the stump.
Trump derided Democrats in a tweet for offering ‘millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare’ as he dashed off to a meeting in Japan with the German chancellor.
He insisted hours later the debate did not go well for Joe Biden, who clashed with Kamala Harris on integration, or Sanders the democratic socialist.
‘I heard it was not a good day for Sleepy Joe or Crazy Bernie. One is exhausted, the other is nuts – so what’s the big deal?’ he said.
In the spin room, Sanders feigned surprise when DailyMail.com told him that Trump had rebuked Democrats for saying they’d ‘give millions of illegal aliens unlimited healthcare’ when moderators asked for a show vote on the subject.
‘Trump criticized me? I am shocked to hear it,’ he said as he stopped for a chat.
He proceeded to go into further detail on his positions on healthcare and illegal immigration.
The president’s perception of Sanders notwithstanding, the Vermont senator came out of the first major test of his presidential candidacy with all his limbs.
His far-left ideas were repeatedly shoved on the coals by moderators, and each time he navigated the questioning without getting burned.
The debate opener focused on Sanders’ promise to redefine the role of government, expanding existing programs to provide health care access to everyone. He was asked to restate his position, and other candidates were given the opportunity to respond.
Sanders proudly proclaimed that he wants to eliminate private health coverage that’s forced on Americans by ‘greedy’ insurance providers with the intention of dramatically lower costs.
‘People who have health care under Medicare for all will have no premiums, no deductibles, no copayments, no out-of-pocket expenses. Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in health care for what they get,’ he said.
He admitted middle-class Americans would be required to turn over more of their money to the government but framed it as a necessary opportunity cost.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper warned voters not to back his political revolution. Democrats cannot define themselves as socialists, he argued, because Republicans will exploit the term to defeat them in 2020 at the ballot box.
‘If we turn towards socialism, we run the risk of helping to re-elect the worst president in American history,’ he stated.
Sanders did not waiver. He noted that national polls have him soundly defeating Trump in the general election, if he’s the Democratic candidate.
‘Last poll I saw had us 10 points ahead of Donald Trump because the American people understand that Trump is a phony, that Trump is a pathological liar and a racist, and that he lied to the American people during his campaign,’ the longtime lawmaker said.
He proceeded to attack Trump for giving tax breaks to the wealthy, especially corporations, and gutting Obamacare without an alternative for middle-income families.
‘That’s how we beat Trump,’ he argued in the debate. ‘We expose him for the fraud that he is.’