Sanders cites retiring lawmakers when asked which Republicans he could work with

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIn Washington, the road almost never taken Don't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (I-Vt.) cited retiring Sens. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats return to disappointment on immigration Authorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism MORE (R-Tenn.) and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonCritical race theory becomes focus of midterms Former Georgia ethics official to challenge McBath Loeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run MORE (R-Ga.) when asked Wednesday to name Republicans he could work with if elected president. 

"Well, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who's recently retiring," Sanders told co-host Meghan McCainMeghan Marguerite McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden Comedian Norm Macdonald dies following battle with cancer: report MORE on ABC's "The View." 

"Your dad is someone I worked with," he continued, referring to the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden MORE (R-Ariz.). 


McCain responded saying he was citing people who were either dead or retiring. 

"Look, even somebody like a George W. Bush who was a very conservative guy," Sanders said. 

"OK, anyone in office that if you were president, who you would work with on the other side?" McCain said. 

"Lamar Alexander," Sanders replied. "Lamar is head of the committee that I'm on, the Health, Education, and Labor Committee. Lamar is a conservative Republican. Lamar is not a liar. Lamar is not a sexist. Lamar is not a racist. He's not a homophobe. He's a conservative guy." 

"So I worked with your dad, I worked with other people on issues where we can come together. That's what I think American politics is supposed to be about," he said.

Alexander will not seek a fourth term in the Senate, and Isakson is slated to step down from his post in at the end of this year. 

Sanders’s presidential campaign tweeted out the exchange shortly after, although the clip does not include his reference to Alexander.

Sanders collaborated with McCain on reforms to the Department of Veterans Affairs after a 2014 scandal involving medical visit wait times and veteran deaths. In a follow-up tweet, Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir posted a clip of the late senator saying he was “one of the first to feel the Bern” after to their work on the measure.

Sanders, who identifies as a democratic socialist, is seen as one of the top leaders in the Democratic Party's progressive movement, often going against the party's establishment to push for policies like "Medicare for All" and tuition-free college.  

Republicans have taken aim at Sanders and other progressives, labeling them as socialists and looking to paint the rest of party as too far to the left. 

—Updated at 1:36 p.m.