Tim Scott: Sanders would be toughest challenger for Trump

Republican Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottWhy Americans must defeat Biden's tax increase pledge Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Lobbyists see wins, losses in GOP coronavirus bill MORE (S.C.) said Monday that, of the Democrats running in the presidential primary, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Kamala Harris: The outreach Latinos need Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll MORE (I-Vt.) would pose the toughest challenge to President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE

Asked if he thinks Sanders is the biggest threat to Trump right now, Scott told CBS’s Gayle KingGayle KingThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus bill Minneapolis police union says members have been 'scapegoated by political leaders' Fox News, CBS morning show hosts return to broadcast studios 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 CunninghamWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert 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.”