Scott made the comments during an interview on CBS This Morning. South Carolina, where Scott serves, is preparing for a consequential vote in the primary race this upcoming Saturday.
“Bernie Sanders brings that outside game in a similar fashion that President Trump did in 2016,” Scott said. “Think about the similarities. In 2016, Republican leadership, Republican wisdom said that there is no way in the world out of the 17 candidates, Donald Trump will be the president. I think it’s very similar.”
SC’s Sen. Tim Scott says Bernie is the biggest threat to Trump. “If there is a second choice other than [Trump] it would be Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders brings that outside game in a similar fashion that President Trump did in 2016."— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) February 24, 2020
Scott’s comments run in stark contrast to some moderate Democrats and other Republicans — including the president — who seem to be gleefully egging on Sanders’ nomination. Many pundits also believe Sanders is too divisive or far to the left to defeat Trump in a general election. Despite that, polls consistently show that Sanders is competitive or has an advantage over Trump nationally.
Scott, on the other hand, seems to see major differences in Sanders this time around versus the campaign he ran in 2016.
“Bernie Sanders is doing something in 2020 that he could not do in 2016, which is getting African Americans and Hispanic voters to take a second look at his campaign. I think perhaps a primary reason is health care. If you look at what stands out the most in his campaign is he is undeniable a socialist, but he is strong and clear and competent on the issues he supports and the issue of health care is a big issue in the African-American community and I think it is the issue for why he ended up with 51% of the Hispanic vote in Nevada.”
And while some moderate Democrats are holding out hope that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg can win the primary and use his seemingly unlimited money to self-fund a victory over Trump, Scott said he thought Bloomberg would be the easiest for Trump to beat.
“Mike Bloomberg has been so provocative. He has so many challenging story headlines,” Scott said. “The narratives for as President Trump calls him ‘Little Mike’ would be easy for President Trump to take strong advantage.”
Democrats will be in South Carolina on Tuesday night for a debate, and voting will begin in the South Carolina primary on Saturday.