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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi: 'Of course' Dems can be against abortion Kasich: 'I think political parties are on their way out' Sanders: Democratic Party's model is 'failing' MORE (I-Vt.) blasted President Trump on Tuesday for claiming that "illegals" cost him the popular vote.
"That is a total nonsensical statement," he told reporters at a weekly press conference, adding that it is a "delusional statement."
Trump made the claim during a closed-door Monday meeting with eight congressional leaders. White House press secretary Sean Spicer added Tuesday that the president believes voter fraud is rampant and that millions voted illegally. The claim, though, has been dismissed by state voting officials.
But Sanders said he thinks Trump is trying to lay the groundwork for Republican governors to pass tougher voting laws.
"What I fear about that statement, and what is something we should all worry about ... [is that] he is sending a message to every Republican governor in this country to go forward with voter suppression," he said.
Sanders called voter suppression the "great political and Democratic crisis" that faces the country.
"My belief is we have got to do everything to kind of make sure that everybody in this country who is legally able to is able to vote," he added.
Sanders's comments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellFive fights for Trump’s first year Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road AACR’s march on Washington MORE (R-Ky.) sidestepped weighing in on Trump's comments Tuesday.
The Kentucky Republican said voter fraud "does happen," while noting lawmakers could disagree on how frequently it happens.
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerPriebus: I believe the government will stay open So what if banks push fancy cards? Give consumers the steak they want Ted Cruz: Warren could beat Trump in 2020 MORE (D-N.Y.) told USA Today that congressional leadership largely brushed off Trump's statement.
"I didn't think anyone in the room really gave it much credence, including our Republican colleagues," Schumer said during a Facebook Live interview with USA Today.
The Senate's top Democrat reiterated at a weekly press conference that his party is pushing back on Trump's claims. He also doubled down on his demand — first outlined on Monday — that Republicans must push back when Trump ignores facts.
"When these falsehoods are told, our Republican colleagues have an obligation to reject them," he said on Tuesday.