President Donald Trump gave a tip of the hat to Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday, saying he and the liberal Vermont senator were on the same page on trade issues.
And he compared his grassroots rise in popularity to that of Sanders, who made a dramatic, but ultimately unsuccessful bid to grab the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination from Hillary Clinton.
In his address Friday at Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland, Trump told supporters:
"We're all part of this historic movement, a movement the likes of which the world has never seen before … There's been some movements, but there's never been anything like this. There's been some movements that petered out, like Bernie [Sanders]. Petered out."
Trump suggested that Sanders' campaign was unfairly felled by Clinton, who reportedly had the secret backing of the Democratic National Committee.
"It was a little rigged against him. Superdelegate, Superdelegate. She had so many delegates before the thing even started. I actually said to my people, 'how does that happen?'" Trump said.
"A lot of Bernie people voted for Trump because you know why? He was right about trade. Our country is being absolutely devastated by trade deals, so we got a lot of support. So actually I like Bernie."
Trump said his "core conviction" is to put the nation's "own citizens first," because "for too long we've traded away our jobs to other countries. So terrible."
During his campaign, Sanders said the top priority of any trade deal should be to help American workers, but that American trade policy over the last 30 years had done just the opposite, with multinational corporations benefiting greatly by shipping millions of American jobs overseas.
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