Americans 'do not want to spend billions of dollars on a wall': Bernie Sanders

Sanders said Trump governs as "representative of the billionaire class."

ByABC News
January 7, 2018, 12:22 PM

— -- Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders took aim at President Donald Trump’s proposal to spend $18 billion over the next decade to extend a border wall with Mexico.

“The American people, in fact, do not want to spend billions of dollars on a wall which Trump told us would be paid for by the Mexican government, which of course is not going to be paid for by” Mexico, Sanders told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday.

Stephanopoulos, noting that Democrats have in the past voted to double the size of existing border fencing with Mexico, asked Sanders if his party would agree to extending the wall in exchange for protecting young immigrants under DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“Is there some kind of compromise here?” Stephanopoulos asked.

Sanders responded, “I don't think there's anybody who disagrees that we need strong border security. If the president wants to work with us to make sure we have strong border security, let’s do that. But the idea of spending some $18 billion on a wall that most people think will not do what he says it will do does not make any sense.”

Stephanopoulos also asked Sanders about his views of Trump’s fitness for office in light of allegations in an explosive new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

The senator, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, said what bothers him most about Trump is that he promised during the campaign to fight for working people, but “he governs now as a representative of the billionaire class.”

“Tax breaks for the wealthy, cutting people off of health insurance, ignoring the needs of children, not dealing with the prescription drug crisis in the country that he said he would deal with,” Sanders said. “I worry about him being a pathological liar. Those are some of the concerns I have.”

Also appearing on "This Week" was Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who criticized a suggestion by Democrats in Congress that they will only approve funding to keep the government running if there is action on behalf of DACA recipients, immigrants known as "Dreamers" who were brought to the country illegally as children.

"If the Democrats want to shut down the government because they can't get amnesty for illegal immigrants, then they're going to have to defend those actions to the American people." the Republican senator told Stephanopoulos.

Cotton added that Democrats could have followed through on such a threat in December, but didn't.

"I suspect they didn't do it because they know that amnesty for illegal immigrants without any real reform is not popular," he said.Cotton also slammed Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois for proposed legislation to protect the so-called "dreamers" brought to the U.S. illegally when they were minors.

Cotton also slammed Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois for his proposed legislation to protect the so-called "Dreamers."

Cotton said that according to the Congressional Budget Office, Durbin's bill would cost $26 billion. The CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in their Dec. 15 report on the legilsation "that changes in direct spending and revenues from enacting [it] would increase budget deficits by $25.9 billion" over 10 years.

"Senator Durbin should reconsider who is making unreasonable, costly demands if he's criticizing the president for requesting $18 billion to secure our southern border that creates such a huge magnet for illegal immigration and crime and drugs," said Cotton.

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