In Atlanta, Bernie Sanders says Trump 'lies all the time’

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In Atlanta, Bernie Sanders says Trump 'lies all the time’

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Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Jimmy Carter discuss human rights during the Human Rights Defenders Forum at the Carter Center on Monday, May 8, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Monday that dealing with President Donald Trump is very difficult because he “lies all the time.”

Meanwhile, former President Jimmy Carter seemed to suggest that he’d voted for Sanders in the Democratic primary here.

“People often ask me, ‘What do you think about what the president said yesterday,’” Sanders, 75, said bluntly during a joint appearance with Carter.  “It’s hard to answer because his view will be different tomorrow, and very often, factually what he says is just not correct.”

Sanders and Carter’s “conversation” came during the Carter Center’s annual Human Rights Defenders Forum. The audience frequently broke into applause, particularly when Sanders launched into one of his signature tough commentaries on the impact of corporate money on American politics. Even Carter seemed to get caught up in it. After Sanders suggested that higher voter turnout was the key to defeating the Republican Party, Carter quipped to the audience, “Can you all see why I voted for him?!”

Carter did not take questions from the audience, so it was impossible to know if the 92-year-old former president -- who endorsed Hillary Clinton last summer -- was serious about having voted for Sanders, presumably in the Democratic primary in Georgia.


  Related video: Carter and Sanders appear together at Human Rights forum

Channel 2's Richard Elliot reports.

The topic of their “conversation” was human rights, and Sanders didn’t hold back when it came to expressing his true feelings about the growing gap between rich and poor in this country, health care reform and other progressive topics.

Meanwhile, Carter had pulled no punches earlier in the day about why Sanders had been invited to address the two-day forum which is focused on strategies for protecting human rights in the wake of rising authoritarianism. 

“I think during the last election in America, Bernie Sanders represented the best of all the candidates what this conference is about,” Carter told the AJC in an interview about an hour before their joint appearance at the end of a forum dinner. “When you lose your opportunity to have some reasonable chance of a decent income, you lose a lot of other things as well. One of the key things people feel is that they’ve lost a voice in their own government.”

As for the invitation that brought Sanders here, Carter chuckled, “I don’t know that he hesitated.”

Indeed, if the 40-minute conversation was in keeping with the forum’s focus, it also represented an irresistible bonus of sorts, bringing together the old progressive standard bearer of the Democratic Party in Carter and the current one in Sanders.

The two men swapped compliments onstage -- Carter is “respected by the vast majority of people in our country,” Sanders said right off the bat -- and shared similar sentiments on the direct effect that growing income inequality has here and around the world.

“Basic human rights, income, status in society, health care, education, justice,” Carter ticked off a list as Sanders nodded beside him. “The things in which we used to have complete faith have now been distorted by rich people getting richer.”

Saying that “in many ways Donald Trump didn’t win the election, the Democratic Party lost the election,” Sanders called on the party to revive itself as a grassroots movement. The longest serving independent in U.S. congressional history, Sanders hasn’t ruled out making another presidential run.

But it sounds like he’s already ruled out becoming the next Tweeter-in-Chief.

“Believe me, I have problems with the media,” Sanders said with a wry chuckle. “But to suggest that all of the media are providing fake news and that really the only person in America, the only source of information that we can trust comes from the tweets of President Trump... 

“How crazy is that?”

   

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