Sanders returns to NY roots, says can defeat Trump

NEW YORK (AP) – Bernie Sanders kicked off his United States (US) presidential campaign last Saturday miles from the rent-controlled apartment where he grew up in Brooklyn and forcefully made the case that he is nothing like fellow New Yorker Donald Trump, proclaiming himself the Democrat best prepared to beat the incumbent in 2020.

“My experience as a child, living in a family that struggled economically, powerfully influenced my life and my values. I know where I came from,” Sanders boomed in his unmistakable Brooklyn accent. “And that is something I will never forget.” The Democrats in the 2020 race have taken varied approaches to Trump, with some avoiding saying his name entirely, while others make implicit critiques of his presidency. Sanders has never shied from jabbing Trump in stark terms, and during his speech at Brooklyn College, he called Trump “the most dangerous president in modern American history” and said the President wants to “divide us up.”

The Vermont senator positioned himself in opposition to Trump administration policies from immigration to climate change. Beyond the issues themselves, Sanders, who grew up in the heavily Jewish neighbourhood of Flatbush in a middle-class family, drew a stark contrast between himself and the billionaire in the White House who hails from Queens.

“I did not have a father who gave me millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos and country clubs,” said Sanders, who has lived in Vermont for decades. He pegged his allowance as a kid at 25 cents a week.

Sanders also said he “did not come from a family of privilege that prepared me to entertain people on television by telling workers, ‘You’re fired.’”

File photo shows US Senator Bernie Sanders speaking in Washington. – AFP