As politicians concede defeat, soften their rhetoric, tone down their warnings on the dangers of Donald Trump and tip-toe around the 45th man elected as the President of the United States, Bernie Sanders is instead doubling down on his determination to prevent some of his most controversial pledges from becoming a reality.
The socialist senator, 74, issued a careful statement after the property tycoon was elected, promising to work with him but also to oppose him should he pursue “racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies”.
Mr Trump at one point pledged to ban all Muslims from entering the US and vowed to begin deporting millions of undocumented immigrants as soon as he reached office. Mr Sanders, who has now refused to rule himself out of a second run for President in 2020, delivered his strongest warning yet to Mr Trump that Americans would not let him deport millions of people or create a division between Muslims and other religions in America in his first televised interview since the election.
Then Mr Sanders then cranked up his message another notch.
On Friday the world was presented with truly surreal images of Mr Trump, a man with no prior political experience, being coolly welcomed into the White House by the incumbent President Barack Obama. Melania Trump and Michelle Obama also had an awkward meeting too, the shadow of a plagiarised speech hanging like a thick cloud over both.
As the protests taking place across America demonstrate, this is a confusing and increasingly tumultuous time. An unprecedented aggression has been unleashed during this campaign and the country stands deeply polarised by the divisive discourse thrown around in the months leading up to the result.
In an America struggling to heal after such a brutal election, many are looking to Mr Sanders for hope. He responded on Friday, telling CNN:
This is America and we aren't going to throw out 11 million people who are undocumented. We’re not going to turn against one of the largest religions in the world, people who are Muslims.
“I do not want to see Muslim kids - and we are hearing about this already - who feel frightened living in the country where they grew up. Who feel intimidated in the country where they grew up. That is not America.
“We do not want to continue the attacks against women that were so prominent in Trump’s campaign.
“I will vigorously oppose him if he appeals to racism, or sexism, or some of the other discriminatory measures that he brought up during his campaign.
‘The election is over and we have to look to the future. What we have got to demand is that Mr Trump keeps the promises that he made to working families.
“He talked about how he was going to be a champion to working families. I hope he will raise the minimum wage so that people who were working for nine or ten bucks an hour get the kind of raise they’re entitled to.
“I hope he will do pay equality for women. Women should not be getting paid 79 cents on the dollar compared to men.
“Let’s deal with the real issues. The rich are getting richer. We are moving towards an oligarchy form of society where a handful of billionaires control the economy and as a result control our political system, to a degree, and our media. There is a lot of work to be done, but let’s not take out our frustration against the poor or minorities.”
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