A day before Donald Trump was set to touch down in Wisconsin for his victory lap (billed as a “thank you” tour), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) showed one Trump supporter why she might not be so thankful when the president-elect assumes office.
During a bipartisan town hall hosted by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Monday night, Wisconsinites discussed income inequality, college affordability, immigration, welfare, trade and Trump. One attendee and Trump voter, Gail Sparks, expressed frustration that people like her, who she said paid for safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare, had become the “silent minority.”
Sanders, who confirmed that Sparks believed such programs should not be gutted, pointed out that the very people Sparks voted for are trying to make the cuts she opposes.
Trump, who has been vague on many of his policy plans but said he would “protect” programs like Social Security and Medicare, has cast doubt on his promises with Cabinet picks like Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who is a notable foe of federal health care programs.
“Do you know who is now working very hard to try to do that?” Sanders said. “Republicans in Congress have a plan under the guise of saving Medicare and saving Social Security, making devastating cuts. That’s what the Republicans are now trying to do.”
Sanders went on to note how the income gap between the rich and the poor has widened over the past several decades, largely at the expense of the middle class and people like Sparks.
“Do you think it’s inappropriate to start asking those people to pay their fair share of taxes so we can adequately fund Medicaid and make public colleges and universities tuition-free?” Sanders said in reference to the upper echelon of wealthy Americans. “Is that an unfair thing to ask?”
At that point, Sanders seemed to have made his point.
“I don’t think it’s an unfair thing to ask,” Sparks conceded. “They got rich off of us, so it’s time they put back.”