Bernie Sanders Dismisses Suggestion That Trump Is Trying to 'Help' His Campaign

Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders dismissed the suggestion that Donald Trump is trying to "help" his campaign, arguing that he would "defeat" the incumbent in the general election.

Over the past few weeks, Trump has played into theories that the Democratic establishment has been attempting to undermine Sanders and "take" the nomination from the Vermont senator. He has repeatedly tweeted about the Democratic primaries, posting about Sanders again on Saturday evening.

"Democrats are working hard to destroy the name and reputation of Crazy Bernie Sanders, and take the nomination away from him," the president wrote.

During an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week, Sanders was asked about Trump's comments. "The president seems to be going out of his way to help you," Stephanopoulos suggested. "Do you accept his help?" he asked, after reading Trump's post.

“The president seems to be going out of his way to help you … do you accept his help?” @GStephanopoulos asks Sanders in reference to recent Trump tweets.

Sanders: “No, I don’t accept his help. I'm going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump.”

— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 1, 2020

"No, I don't accept his help. I'm going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump," Sanders responded firmly. The presidential candidate then changed the topic to criticize the president's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which Trump dubbed a "new hoax" by the Democrats during a South Carolina rally on Friday.

"In the midst of this coronavirus, a real threat to our country and the world, all over the world governments are trying to figure out how they can deal with this crisis," the senator from Vermont said, "do you know where Donald Trump was the other day?"

Answering his own question, Sanders continued: "He was in South Carolina trying to undermine the Democratic primary."

"How pathetic is it that in the midst of an international health care crisis, you got a president running into South Carolina trying to steal some media attention away from Democrats?" he asked. Sanders went on to argue that "some" of Trump's advisers have suggested "they are afraid" of his movement.

"What our campaign is about is about building that multiracial, multigenerational movement of millions of working class people, middle class people, lower income people, who finally want us to have a government that represents all of us, not just wealthy campaign contributors," Sanders asserted.

Newsweek has reached out to the White House for comment in regards to criticism of its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

All recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics show Sanders beating Trump in a hypothetical general election match-up by a range of 2 to 8 points. The overall aggregate of February national polls shows Sanders winning over Trump by an average of 4.9 points.

Bernie Sanders
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters during a campaign rally in the Batten Student Center on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University on February 29 in Virginia Beach, Virginia Chip Somodevilla/Getty

As the primary season heads into Super Tuesday, Sanders leads all the other Democratic contenders with pledged delegates after the first four contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The senator currently has 58 delegates, while former Vice President Joe Biden has 50. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, trails behind in third place with 26, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has only eight.

Meanwhile, Sanders also appears to be in the lead in many Super Tuesday states. Notably, he is polling significantly ahead of all his rivals for the Democratic nomination in California and Texas, the two most populous states with 643 pledged delegates up for grabs between them. Separate polls by Morning Consult and Fox News places Sanders ahead of Biden, who comes in second in both surveys, by double digits nationally.

On Sunday, Sanders' campaign announced a record-setting one month contribution haul as well, with the candidate garnering $46.5 million in donations. The average donation amounted to $18.50, with 2.2 million individual contributions. Sanders' previous record-setting month was January, when his campaign took in about $25 million.