Vermont senator has claimed on at least six occasions Americans “will die” if Obamacare repealed and replaced
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dubiously denied saying various GOP efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would “potentially kill Americans” when a co-host of ABC News’ “The View” pressed him Wednesday about the use of “irresponsible rhetoric.”
Sanders appeared on “The View” as Republicans were in the throes of dealing with their latest inability to pass a bill that would dismantle Obamacare and provide relief to Americans suffering under the law’s burdensome regulations and mandates.
Through each step in the process, Sanders predicted death and destruction for millions of Americans if GOP efforts came to fruition.
But when “The View” co-host Jedediah Bila cornered him on his previous statements and the rhetoric used by other prominent Democrats, Sanders appeared to suffer a bout of forgetfulness.
at 4:15 in this video…
“I want to talk about the rhetoric then, senator,” Bila began. “Because if you’re going to sit down with people on both sides of the aisle, some Democrats have branded Republicans ‘the party of death,’ for example, calling the tax cuts in the Senate health care bill ‘blood money.'”
“You yourself have said Republicans are potentially killing Americans. Is that rhetoric irresponsible?” Bila asked. “And does it provide an impasse to compromise? If you’re going to sit down with those very people that you have now said want to kill people —”
Sanders interrupted Bila, claiming, “I never said — that’s not — you’re using rhetoric that I didn’t use.”
“Oh am I?” Bila replied. “These are quotes. ‘Party of death’ is a quote.”
The “party of death” quote came from Sanders’ Democratic presidential primary rival, nominee Hillary Clinton, who tweeted June 23, “Forget death panels. If Republicans pass this bill, they’re the death party.”
But Sanders also took issue with Bila’s claims that he accused Republicans of concocting a bill that would kill Americans.
“This is what I said, and it’s not me. This is a dozen or more studies that show that if you throw 22 million people off the insurance they have — these are people who have cancer. These are people who have heart disease, diabetes, other life-threatening illnesses,” Sanders said. “What study after study shows is that thousands of those people will die. That’s what Harvard says. That’s what study after study shows. It’s not me, I’m just telling you what the studies are showing.”
But Bila pressed Sanders further, asking him how it would be possible for Sanders and the Democratic senators to sit down with their Republican colleagues and engage in a productive conversation on health care reform if one side was accusing the other side of “killing Americans” with inflamed rhetoric.
“I have said publicly nobody here in the Congress wants anybody to die. I understand that,” Sanders claimed, before noting that Americans dying “is the result of throwing 22 million people off of health insurance.”
Sanders has a history of using apocalyptic rhetoric to accuse the GOP of willingly inflicting death upon millions of Americans by seeking to dismantle Obamacare.
In early May, Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “Anderson Cooper 360°” that “if the bill passed today in the House became law, thousands of Americans would die, because they would no longer have access to health care.”
“Let us be clear, and this is not trying to be overly dramatic: Thousands of people will die if the Republican health care bill becomes law,” Sanders tweeted on June 23.
“People who can’t afford health care do not deserve to die,” Sanders tweeted on June 26.
That same day, Sanders said during a speech in Pittsburgh, “The horrible and unspeakable truth is that if this legislation was to pass, and if millions of people, many of whom are terribly ill today, would [sic] to lose their health care that they have, there is no question but that many, many thousands of our fellow Americans will die unnecessarily.”
After receiving some backlash in June following his harsh rhetoric, Sanders appeared on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” to defend his viewpoint that the Republicans would be responsible for killing millions of Americans if they repealed and replaced Obamacare, insisting that “it’s true.”
“If you have cancer and your insurance is taken away from you, there is a likelihood you will die and certainly a likelihood that you will become much sicker than you are today,” Sanders said.
And in a statement July 13, Sanders said the revised GOP health care plan “is an absolute disaster that will inflict severe economic pain on millions of Americans.”
“Make no mistake about it, thousands of Americans every year will die unnecessarily if this legislation is passed,” Sanders said. “Let’s be clear: the Republican bill is fatally flawed, and no small tweak here or there will undo the massive damage that it will cause to Vermont and the entire country. It must be defeated.”
Sanders has been confronted before about the nature of his impassioned rhetoric — especially in the wake of the June 14 shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) at the hands of one of Sanders’ primary campaign supporters.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sanders on “State of the Union” following the shooting, “Now, Senator, as you know, you have not only never advocated violence. You have — you have condemned it repeatedly. But you have been speaking the language of revolution for many years. When you see a comment like this from this political consultant, and then you see what happened on Wednesday, are you concerned that some individuals are able to take your rhetoric as a literal call to arms?”
Sanders replied that it “goes without saying that violence is not part of that process.”
He continued: “Now, right now, what we are seeing in Washington with this health care bill, where the Republican leadership wants to throw 23 million Americans off of health insurance, raise premiums for older workers, defund Planned Parenthood, cut Medicaid by over $800 billion, this is the worst piece of legislation to have passed the Congress since I have been in Congress. It is an outrage. And it has to be protested, and we have to make sure that nothing like that gets past the Senate. But it has to be done, of course, in a nonviolent way.”
“So, I think this is a moment where the American people have got to stand up, fight back to a Congress which is out of touch with where working families are,” Sanders added.