Trump Would Bring Nuclear War, Fmr. Senator Bill Bradley Says

PHOTO: Former Sen. Bill Bradley, D-N.J., takes his seat for the Senate Finance Committee hearing, Feb. 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C.PlayBill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
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Bill Bradley has warned that he believes a Donald Trump presidency presents a nuclear threat.

"Who do you trust with your life?" the former senator and 2000 presidential candidate asked today's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast.

"Now if it was John McCain or Mitt Romney, I would trust them with my life. Now I don’t trust Donald Trump with my life because I don’t think he’s got the experience or the ability to diffuse a crisis diplomatically before it gets to the nuclear threshold," Bradley said.

The former three-term senator has formed an anti-Trump super PAC and released dramatic anti-Trump campaign ads to go with it because he believes that a Trump presidency presents a nuclear threat.

A longtime advocate for campaign finance reform and fundraising regulation, Bradley surprised many with the formation of his super PAC. But he did it, he said, because "the danger of nuclear war supersedes any other issue."

The ads he's released have been compared with the famous ad that portrayed Barry Goldwater as a nuclear war proponent in his 1964 bid against Lyndon B. Johnson. It only aired once, but was regarded as highly effective and highly damaging to Goldwater's image. It featured a girl playing in a meadow, which was then destroyed by a nuclear missile launch.

Bradley is worried about Trump's "having his finger on the nuclear button" most of all, but also about the effects on markets that could turn "volatile," he said. "God forbid [Trump win]," he said. "I think we're in uncharted territory."

"He's going to say stuff that is going to shock the markets," Bradley said. "Just think of the day he said, 'Well we’ll default on our debt, We’ll renegotiate our debt.' That might be what you do in a real estate deal in Queens, but you don’t do that with the Chinese."

But there's hope for Hillary Clinton's pulling Republicans -- not the "15 or 20 percent haters who are total haters" but the reasonable people -- onto her side, he said.

Regardless of the choice America makes on Nov. 8, Bradley sees Congress as a place that needs to see compromise, rather than a focus on the next election season.

And Bradley knows about compromise: He was part of a 1986 push during his time in the Senate to effect tax reform, in what he calls “the bill that put me on Donald Trump’s loser list, because we took away a lot of his tax shelters.”

He worked with three Republicans and three other Democrats, holding daily morning meetings to write the bill, having votes when disagreements arose and creating an environment where all seven members of the committee stood by the final bill entirely.

“Clearly, there’s a middle," he said of partisan struggles. "And that middle has to assert itself.”

Ultimately, Bradley said, it's a year of challenge and change for Republicans, who are seeing a resurgence of a far-right minority that hasn't seen light since the Goldwater days.

"You can look forward and say that this is a time where America came to its senses," Bradley said. "Because it got very close to the abyss and pulled back."