Watch Trump Fan Question Bernie Sanders in This Rollercoaster Town Hall Exchange
Independent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders fielded questions from a supporter of President Donald Trump in an exchange that fluctuated from gracious and civil to tense and combative.
Now, there’s something you don’t see every day. At a town hall meeting in North Conway, New Hampshire this week, Sanders called on a man named Steven Steiner, a local municipal official and former Republican candidate for state senate.
“I am a Republican and I do support Donald Trump,” Steiner began, then to a smattering of claps and indistinct murmurs, added “No hatred, please, no hatred, give me my time.”
“Couple things. How do you feel about the right to try that Donald Trump…” Steiner began.
“Right to what?”Sanders asked.
“Right to try,” Steiner repeated, referring to a law that was passed in 2018 allowing terminally ill patients to access unapproved treatments, and limiting the liability of providers of those treatments.
“Right to try?” Sanders said, and began to answer “Well, no president is above the law, and if you’re talking about after he leaves…”
“No no no,” Steiner interrupted, and began to explain the law.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Sanders said with a laugh. “New experimental drugs, yeah, in general, the answer is in general, yes.”
The Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent, while the House passed it with only 22 Democratic votes.
“Okay, the opiate problem hit my family more than once,” Steiner said, launching into his second question. “When Donald Trump was in Londonderry the day before the primary in 2016, I got to not ask him a question, more gave him a directive, and that was to ask him to use his family, himself, use the bully pulpit of the White House to do something about the opiate problem.”
“And he’s now using his wife, because last time this happened was during Ronald Reagan, as we both know,” Steiner continued, and asked “How do you think he’s handling the opiate situation?”
“Not well enough, because it is a major epidemic,” Sanders said. “A major, a major serious problem in your state, a major serious problem in my state, and I’ll tell you what I think.”
Sanders then told the crowd about the current opioid litigation, and said that he wanted the manufacturers to testify under oath to Congress “and tell us when they knew that opioids were addictive.”
“And you know what, I think this trial is going to show that Purdue and some other major manufacturers knew that it was addictive, and yet they continued…” Sanders continued, as Steiner tried to interrupt.
“Okay, are you listening sir?” Sanders asked. “I mean you asked me a question, and I’m talking to you. Okay?”
“Okay,” Steiner said.
“And they knew what they were doing was addictive and dangerous,” Sanders continued. “To my mind, if that in fact is true, they should be tried in a criminal basis.”
As the audience applauded, Steiner began to follow up, telling Sanders “When my son died, when my son died in 2001…”
There was an indistinct shout from someone in the crowd, and Steiner remarked “Lot of love in here, I can feel it.”
“When my son died in 2001, no one knew about the dangers of how bad Oxycontin was, they only knew, the drug peddlers and all knew how high we could get off by washing off the outer coating and snorting oxycontin,” Steiner continued, as Sanders tried to interrupt.
“But they made the medicine for sick people and it got diverted…” Steiner added.
“Hold on, I do know a little bit about this, I’m on the committee,” Sanders interrupted. “I mean there was a point, I think in the beginning you’re right, it was meant to deal with severe pain, and it does that. But there was a point when they knew that there were communities in West Virginia and Ohio where an enormous number of pills were coming in, which had nothing to do with pain relief. They knew it.”
“And if they knew it and they were passing around those pills, they should be held criminally responsible. That’s my view,” Sanders said.
“Well, in my case, I will tell you that my ex-wife diverted the medication from the bad doctor, that’s how my son ended up…” Steiner said, to which Sanders responded “I’m sorry for your loss.”
“And now, just fast forward to just another tragedy in my family I want to share…” Steiner began, to muttering and jeers from the audience.
“Yeah, I think, come on sir, you had two questions, more than anybody else,” Sanders interrupted, then moved on to the next questioner.
Watch the clip above, via Bernie Sanders for President.
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