Sanders Believes Biden Will Defeat Trump, But Won't Say It's a 'Slam Dunk'

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders believes Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden can defeat President Donald Trump in the November election, but refused to say it would be a "slam dunk."

"I think there is a strong chance that...[Biden] will win," Sanders said during an appearance Friday on PBS' Firing Line. "Am I here to tell you, 'Absolutely, this is a slam dunk, no chance that he will lose?' That's not what I'm saying."

Host Margaret Hoover spoke with the senator, who formally ended his campaign for president in April, on a wide range of topics, including the tapes released this week by journalist Bob Woodward in which Trump revealed he intentionally downplayed the threat of coronavirus.

Sanders called Trump a "pathological liar" and asserted that Biden's campaign for the presidency is dependent upon "whether or not we remain a democratic society."

"The person who is president today does not believe in democracy, does not believe in the rule of law, does not in fact believe in the Constitution of the United States," Sanders said.

Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks via teleconference during a Senate Help Committee hearing on June 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. Al Drago - Pool/Getty

Sanders, known for his progressive policy agenda, implored American voters to put any disagreements they may have with Biden aside "for the moment."

It's not a big secret that Biden is more conservative than Sanders, particularly when it comes to climate change and health care, Sanders said. But the senator, who endorsed Biden for president just days after ending his own campaign, acknowledged that members of their teams had come together to hammer out a "series of programs on the major issues facing this country."

If they're implemented—and Sanders stressed he would see to it that they are—the policies would make Biden "perhaps the most progressive president since [Franklin D. Roosevelt]."

Biden has a strong program, and he needs to do a better job in "getting it out," Sanders added.

In the final push to the November 3 election date, Biden's campaign should continue attacking the record and rhetoric of Trump, who Sanders considers "to be the most dangerous president in the history of this country." But his campaign must also give Americans good reason to vote for Biden, Sanders said.

"That means speaking about an economic program, which Biden has," he said. "It is not as strong as I would like it—it's not the Bernie Sanders program, despite what Trump will tell you—but it is a strong program that will improve life for many millions of people."

Hoover presented a possible scenario to Sanders in which Trump lost the election but refused to leave office, a question the president refused to answer during a July interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace. If that were to actually happen, then "we are probably in the worst constitutional crisis in the history of this country," Sanders told Hoover.

As he continued to play out the scenario, Sanders said he hoped there would be a "coming together of progressives, of moderates, of conservatives" who value the Constitution and rule of law over policies of Trump's they may agree with.

"We have got to bring all elements of American society together, including the business community, and say, 'You know what...we will have a fierce debate about the future of America, but it will be done within the framework of a democratic rule of law society.'"

Newsweek contacted the Trump campaign for comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.