Tim Scott: Sanders would be toughest challenger for Trump

Republican Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottBooker: End of police reform negotiations a 'frustrating experience' Sunday shows - All eyes on spending votes Tim Scott says police reform talks collapsed with Dems over funding MORE (S.C.) said Monday that, of the Democrats running in the presidential primary, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders Texas House Republican tests positive for coronavirus in latest breakthrough case In defense of share buybacks Progressives seething over Biden's migrant policies MORE (I-Vt.) would pose the toughest challenge to President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE

Asked if he thinks Sanders is the biggest threat to Trump right now, Scott told CBS’s Gayle KingGayle KingNate Burleson makes leap from football to news with 'CBS Mornings' Witness says R. Kelly kept watch over girlfriends during Gayle King interview Hillicon Valley: Feds lay down marker in Facebook fight MORE, “I do think so.” 

“I would say that the biggest threat to President Trump is President Trump,” Scott added on “This Morning.” 

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“If he's on his game, as he was at the State of the Union, I don't think there's a candidate in the country that can beat him,” Scott said of Trump. “If there is a second choice other than himself, it would be Bernie Sanders.”

Scott said Sanders brings “that outsider game in a similar fashion” to what Trump did in 2016, adding that “Republican wisdom said there’s no way in the world out of the 17 candidates, Donald Trump will be the president.” 

“The tea leaves suggest that the Democrat Party is looking for every way to stop Bernie Sanders from winning even if he has the plurality; which I think would cause an implosion on the foundation of the Democrat Party,” Scott said. 

The vast majority of Democratic officials when asked have said that they will support whoever the nominee is, although some moderates, such as South Carolina Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph Cunningham'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection Top cyber Pentagon official overseeing defense contractor project placed on leave Joe Cunningham to enter race for South Carolina governor MORE (D), have been reluctant to say they would support Sanders if he wins the nomination. 

Asked earlier this month if he would support Sanders if he wins the nomination, Cunningham, one of only two Democratic Congress members from the state, told The Post and Courier that “Bernie Sanders will not be the nominee.” 

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Scott also told CBS News he believes billionaire Mike Bloomberg would be the easiest candidate for Trump to defeat. 

Scott’s prediction comes as Democratic voters in his state prepare to cast their ballots in the presidential primary on Saturday. 

Sanders is leading the field after wins in New Hampshire and Nevada and a close second-place finish in Iowa. South Carolina is the first state in the primary with a significant portion of black voters. 

The top candidates will face off in a debate Tuesday night in South Carolina ahead of the primary. 

Scott said one of Sanders’s opponents has to take him on “head-to-head” in the debate in order for the primary to change. 

“You saw Bernie Sanders almost unscathed during the [Nevada] debate. That's perhaps the most dangerous combination you could see on the debate stage. Someone being targeted but the front-runner being left alone,” Scott said, referencing candidates' attacks on Bloomberg. “If things are gonna change for this nation, from a Democrat perspective, someone's gotta take Bernie Sanders on head-to-head tomorrow night. The thriller in South Carolina.”