Sanders: US facing 'worst moment in American history maybe since the Civil War'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump is fighting the wrong war Michelle Obama, Sanders, Kasich to be featured on first night of Democratic convention: report The Memo: Trump team pounces on Biden gaffes MORE (I-Vt.) said the U.S. may be facing its “worst moment” since the Civil War as it scrambles to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 77,000 people in the country.

“We are in the worst moment in American history maybe since the Civil War,” Sanders said on MSNBC on Friday. “We are in a terrible, terrible moment.

“People are hurting in a way that we have never ever seen in our lifetimes," he continued. "And to top it all, we have someone so irresponsible, so not understanding the current reality as president of the United States that it is just incredibly painful.”

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The remarks come as states across the country figure out how and when to reopen, with some opting for a more aggressive approach and others keeping their stringent social distancing orders in place until they're able to reduce their number of cases.

Sanders said the government should prioritize guaranteeing that workers receive their paychecks and providing Americans with $2,000 per month to help grapple with the exploding economic fallout from the virus, which has already led to skyrocketing business closures and unemployment claims. 

However, Democrats and Republicans in Congress remain bitterly divided over the contents of the next stimulus package, and on whether such a package is even necessary; White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE signaled Friday that formal negotiations on the next coronavirus stimulus package would be paused until early June.

“We’re in a lot of conversations right now. We’ve kind of paused as far as formal negotiations go,” Kudlow told reporters at the White House. “Let’s have a look at what the latest round produces. You need a month or so to evaluate that.”

Sanders said he and Democrats on Capitol Hill would continue fighting to provide aid to American citizens and businesses, slamming Kudlow’s remarks as “callous.” 

“I — and I know many other senators and members of the House — will fight like hell to make sure we act and act as soon as possible, because the American people are hurting,” Sanders said.