An attendee of a Fox News town hall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Monday asked Sanders about how he would keep the United States out of foreign military entanglements.
Sanders responded by reiterating his commitment to staying out of what he considers unnecessary wars. He cited as evidence his opposition to the Iraq War as a member of Congress, as well as his more recent leadership of a resolution that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Working with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Sanders has argued that the catastrophic humanitarian fallout from the Saudi-led invasion should prompt the U.S. to reconsider its military and financial assistance for the intervention. Saudi Arabia would almost certainly be unable to carry out the war without U.S. assistance.
The resolution, which passed both chambers of Congress with bipartisan support, now heads to Trump’s desk. Trump, who has been close with Saudi Arabia since taking office, is likely to veto the measure.
Sanders, likely hoping that Trump, an avid Fox News viewer, was tuning in, took the opportunity to lobby Trump directly on the resolution.
“I’ve been very critical of the president,” Sanders began. “The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars. And I agree with that.”
Then, turning to the camera, Sanders continued, “Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”
In a follow-up exchange with moderator Bret Baier, Sanders declined to name which country he considers the biggest threat to the United States.
“I don’t like using the word ‘threat’ because that says, ‘Oh, my God, we have to spend zillions more on the military,’” he said.
But, he added, “Clearly, we are concerned about China and we are concerned about Russia.”