Bernie Sanders on Oval Office address: Trump trying to 'create fear and hatred'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination 2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations MORE (I-Vt.) on Tuesday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Lady Gaga blasts Pence as ‘worst representation of what it means to be Christian’ We have a long history of disrespecting Native Americans and denying their humanity MORE is working to "create fear and hatred in our country" in his response to the president's prime-time address on border security from the Oval Office.

“Sadly, what President Trump is trying to do is create fear and hatred in our country," Sanders said. "Instead of trying to bring us together as a people, he is trying to divide us up. And in the process, divert our attention from the real crises facing the working families of this nation.”

Sanders's comments came in a video message following Trump's address Tuesday night. In the speech, Trump claimed the U.S. faces a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the border that requires the construction of a wall.



Trump's address came in the midst of a partial government shutdown, now in its 19th day, that was sparked because the president refused to sign a bill to fund the government that didn't include at least $5 billion for the wall. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in border security funding.

In his response to Trump, Sanders, who is a possible contender for a 2020 White House bid, said the U.S. faces a number of more serious crises, including income inequality, student loan debt and climate change.

Sanders also said Trump "lies all of the time," adding that Trump continued to lie during his address Tuesday.

“It gives me no pleasure to tell you what most of you already know, and that is that President Trump lies all of the time," Sanders, a frequent critic of Trump's, said. "And in his remarks tonight and in recent weeks regarding immigration and the wall, he continues to lie.”

The senator from Vermont specifically accused Trump of lying in his claims that Mexico would pay for the construction of a border wall, that thousands of terrorists enter the U.S. from the southern border and that former presidents told him that they supported building a wall.

Sanders also called for "comprehensive immigration reform" rather than the construction of a wall.

“In terms of immigration in this country, what we need to do is not to waste billions of dollars on a wall, but to finally the address the need for comprehensive immigration reform, including improved border security," he said.