'Fox & Friends' Warns 'Legitimate Socialist' Bernie Sanders May Turn US into Venezuela

Fox News ridiculed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign announcement Tuesday morning, warning viewers of the danger that comes with having a "legitimate socialist" entering the 2020 race.

The Fox & Friends hosts mocked the Democratic Party for not being "outraged" that Sanders, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, refuses to officially join the party. Host Ainsley Earhardt remarked "more and more people are supporting the socialist agenda," particularly millennials, and said the eight other official 2020 Democratic candidates have embraced the issues Sanders ran on in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. The Tuesday morning segment dismissed the concepts of free college tuition and healthcare for all Americans as "socialist" while also cautioning viewers about following Venezuela "into the toilet."

The segment blamed groups like millennials and Latin American governments for allowing socialist ideas to creep into mainstream U.S. politics. The Fox hosts repeatedly mislabeled Sanders a "socialist" despite him being a self-described "democratic socialist." Sanders frequently notes the U.S. already has so-called "socialist" programs in housing, medicine and health care.

Fox & Friends then interviewed several diner patrons in Florida just one day after President Donald Trump declared to a Miami crowd, "America will never be a socialist country."

One diner named Luis urged Sanders to "visit any Latin American country that has socialism and see that they went bankrupt...their economies are crumbling." Another diner and self-described teacher claimed millennials are embracing socialist policies "because they have been indoctrinated in our schools by leftist professors. It is time that we teach these youngsters that socialism is not what it's cracked up to be, there is no equality in socialism except misery."

Host Brian Kilmeade then rattled off all of the so-called "socialist" policies that a Sanders voter supports: "If you vote for Bernie this is what you're getting. Free tuition, $15 minimum wage, health care as a right for all people. Radical ideas are now mainstream ideas because of your support. Everyone gets everything for free because these horrible rich people have had it too good for too long. He's a legitimate socialist, there's those that dabble, but he's been there.”

Kilmeade and co-host Steve Doocy then delved back into the 2016 DNC superdelegate debate, which many Sanders supporters say robbed him of a potential primary victory over Clinton.

“Medicare for all. The single payer system. Free college. His Anti-Israel policy that was basically his foreign policy,” Kilmeade said. "It won him New Hampshire and it almost took Iowa [in 2016.] It scared the heck out of Hillary Clinton and then all of the sudden Debbie Wasserman Schultz was working behind the scenes cut his knees out along with the super delegates who were acquired before Bernie Sanders was actually in.”

“If I am a Democrat, if I am running the Democratic committee, I'd be outraged right now. He won't even join my party, yet he wants my nomination. I say hit the road. In or out?” Kilmeade added.

Sanders has repeatedly stated that Independent candidates like himself are forced to run under the binary apparatus of either the Democratic or Republican parties in order to have a legitimate shot at winning the presidency.

“The thing about Bernie now that he's declared he is going to run for president on the Democratic Party,” co-host Steve Doocy said. “He has been a national leader ever since he ran against Hillary Clinton in 2016 and did really well. But even though he is one of the national leaders in the Democratic Party, he refuses to join the Democratic Party. He described himself as a democratic socialist, when you look at his agenda, it is very clear, in addition to universal healthcare, healthcare for all, many other things that made Bernie in 2016 stand out.”

Earhardt chimed in with standard Fox News hyperbole to caution viewers about Sanders' "very liberal agenda...more and more people are supporting the socialist agenda. You make a lot of money? Give it away." She then added a comment about the 77-year-old's appearance, "He actually looks good."

The hosts then floated a theory about the announcement's timing just hours after Trump's Monday condemnation of socialism in countries such as Venezuela.

fox & friends bernie sanders
Fox News ridiculed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign announcement Tuesday morning, warning viewers of the danger that comes with having a "legitimate socialist" entering the 2020 race. Screenshot: Fox & Friends YouTube

“What about the timing?” Kilmeade pondered. “The timing of a socialist declaring for president one day after the president of the United States condemned socialism in Miami and we look at Venezuela as a case in point of what could happen to America with all our natural resources, with all our history like Venezuela, much richer than Venezuela.”

“And all their oil resources, they have gone into the toilet as a country," Kilmeade continued. "They can't even stock their shelves with food that would be too expensive to buy anyway because of inflation."

Asked by CBS This Morning host John Dickerson about another independent candidate for president, Howard Schultz, Sanders shot back, "Why are you quoting Howard Schultz? He's a billionaire! We have a corrupt system where anybody who is a billionaire and can throw ads around on television suddenly becomes very, very credible."

On Monday, Doocy asked one of Sanders' Democratic rivals in the upcoming primary, Kamala Harris, if she needed to adopt Sanders' democratic socialism platform to win in 2020.

"Well, the people of New Hampshire will tell me what's required to compete in New Hampshire, but I will tell you I am not a Democratic socialist,” Harris responded. “I believe that what voters do want is, they want to know that whoever is going to lead understands that in America today, not everyone has equal opportunity to, and access to, a path to success, and that has been building up over the decades, and we have got to correct our course.”