Bernie Sanders has kicked off his 2020 US presidential campaign with a rally in New York City. The senator vowed to defeat Donald Trump, whom he called "the most dangerous president in modern American history."
US Senator Bernie Sanders began his bid for the presidency on Saturday with a call for Americans to join his struggle to transform the country.
It is the second time the senator from Vermont is angling for the White House after losing out on the 2016 Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton.
In a speech to several thousand people in the New York borough of Brooklyn, where he grew up, Sanders said this time he was in the best position to oust US President Donald Trump.
"I want to thank all of you for being part of a campaign which is not only going to win the Democratic nomination, which is not only going to defeat Donald Trump, who is the most dangerous president in modern American history," he told the crowd. "But, with your help, we are going to transform this country and finally create an economy and a government which works for all of us."
Sanders embraced by Democrat mainstream
Sanders also sought to use his campaign launch to highlight the differences between himself and Trump.
"I did not have a father who gave me millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos and country clubs," Sanders told the crowd. The son of a Jewish immigrant, he had a working-class childhood in Brooklyn, where his family lived in a rent-controlled apartment.
Meanwhile, Trump, who was addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington on Saturday, urged the audience to support his bid for a second term. While he did not mention Sanders by name in his two-hour speech, he said the future of America "does not belong to those who believe in socialism."
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, highlighted his campaign priorities to his supporters in New York, including a plan to implement "Medicare for all," a $15-an-hour minimum wage, tuition-free public colleges and the so-called Green New Deal to curb carbon emissions.
Much of Sanders' liberal, populist agenda — previously dismissed as too radical by moderate Democrats — has since been embraced by the mainstream of the party. To secure the nomination, he will have to beat more than 10 other Democratic contenders, including liberal Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
nm/bw (AP, AFP)