- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sen. Bernie Sanders said Thursday he fears the United States is drifting toward authoritarianism under President Trump.

Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Mr. Sanders described Mr. Trump as a “pathological liar” and said the president’s “vicious attacks on the media” and his disregard for the facts threatens democracy.

“Under President Trump our country is moving in an authoritarian direction and the very nature of American democracy is under attack,” the Vermont independent said. “No matter what our political perspective — whether we are progressives, conservatives or moderates — we must do everything we can to preserve American democracy and oppose the current drift toward authoritarianism that I believe President Trump represents.”

Mr. Sanders, who finished second to Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, said that the Trump administration has spread lies aimed at undermining the press and “delegitimizing” the electoral process.

He also said he is concerned about the way in which Mr. Trump has shown an affinity for authoritarian figures across the globe, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Mohammed bin Salman, the new crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Sanders said the coming Fourth of July holiday offers elected leaders and the general public with a chance to think about the role the responsibility they have to defend freedom and democracy.

He said it should not come that he does not see eye-to-eye with Mr. Trump and the GOP on many issues, claiming they are pushing “anti-working class agenda” on health care system, climate change and education.

He said debate is healthy, but discussing issues has become harder since Mr. Trump took office.

“There is no politician I know and certainly no president in the history of our country who has told as many outrageous and blatant lies,” Mr. Sanders said.

“What does it mean for our democracy if we have a president who lies all of the time?” he said. “What it means is that it cheapens and lowers the respect for truth. If the president of the United States can lie, you can lie, mayors can lie, governors can lie, Congressman can lie.”

“It makes it acceptable and easier for us not to have a discourse which is based on facts, but a discourse which is based on alternative truth,” he said.

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