Tim Scott: Sanders would be toughest challenger for Trump

Republican Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHow much damage? The true cost of the Senate's coronavirus relief bill Senate unanimously passes T coronavirus stimulus package Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill MORE (S.C.) said Monday that, of the Democrats running in the presidential primary, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTop Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Poll: Biden leads Sanders by 22 points GE employees urge company to use laid-off workers to make ventilators MORE (I-Vt.) would pose the toughest challenge to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House MORE

Asked if he thinks Sanders is the biggest threat to Trump right now, Scott told CBS’s Gayle KingGayle KingZuckerberg, Gates team up to contribute M for research into coronavirus treatments Weinstein juror says 'Me Too' movement did not impact verdict Biden: Winning in South Carolina by 1 point is 'enough' 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 CunninghamHouse chairwoman diagnosed with 'presumed' coronavirus infection Capitol officials extend suspension of tourist access until May Second Capitol Police officer tests positive for coronavirus 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.”