Trump Jr. says Sanders won't be 'real competition' if he's the nominee

WEST MANCHESTER, N.H. — Donald Trump Jr. said Tuesday that while there are some policy and messaging similarities between President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), he doesn’t see the Vermont senator as “real competition” in a potential general matchup.

Sitting in the corner booth of the Chez Vachon diner in West Manchester with his girlfriend Kimberly GuilfoyleKimberly Ann GuilfoyleTrump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans Brazilian president Bolsonaro tested for coronavirus days after meeting Trump Business as usual for Trump as coronavirus spreads MORE, the chairwoman of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, Trump Jr. telegraphed new attacks the campaign will launch against Sanders, who is the favorite to win New Hampshire’s Democratic primary Tuesday.

Trump Jr. said in an interview with The Hill that even though the president and Sanders both have energized supporters and a populist message on issues like trade, his father can point to the recently ratified United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and his dealings with China as hard evidence of his commitment to leveling the playing field for working class voters.

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Sanders, Trump Jr. said, talks a big game on those issues but backs down from fights when the going gets tough.

“Bernie’s been in [Congress] for 30 years. What has he done? There’s a difference between talking about fighting and actually fighting,” Trump Jr. said before pointing to the 2016 Democratic race between Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE.

“You saw what happened with him and Hillary. You saw what happened to him in Iowa. Is Bernie really a fighter? It’s one thing to give a stump speech and say something but he got steamrolled by the party last time and then he goes and endorses Hillary. … I don’t see it being real competition,” Trump Jr. said.

Still, Trump Jr. says he’s seen firsthand the potential overlap between Trump and Sanders. He said he was stuck in an elevator in New Hampshire with Sanders supporters who told him that if the Vermont senator does not win the nomination, they’ll vote for Trump.

And Trump Jr. said he finds common cause with Sanders, arguing that both are treated unfairly by the news media.

“Without question,” Trump Jr. said. “I don’t think they treat him nearly as bad as they do us, but they have stepped up their game against him since his numbers have gone up.”

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But he said that at the end of the day, he thinks voters will be scared off by Sanders’s embrace of socialism. 

“Those things he’s sort of pushing are going to be scary for a lot of people, so I don’t know that the overlap is so much,” he said.

Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle ordered french toast and crepes at Chez Vachon, the decades-old establishment in a working class neighborhood of West Manchester. They were swarmed for pictures by the surprised morning breakfast crowd.

A retired electrician sitting nearby said he wished he hadn’t left his MAGA hat in his truck. An older woman named Claudette sat down at their booth to dispense relationship advice.

“Take your time,” she told them, before planting a kiss on Trump Jr.’s cheek. 

Trump visited the same diner around this time in 2016 ahead of his victory in the New Hampshire primary.

On Tuesday, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Republicans voice optimism on winning back the House following special election victories GOP pulls support from California House candidate over ‘unacceptable’ social media posts Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans MORE (R-Minn.) walked through introducing himself to customers and asking them to vote for Trump in the New Hampshire primary, which the president is expected to win in a landslide.

Looking ahead to the general election, Trump Jr. said turning New Hampshire from blue to red will be a top priority for the campaign. Clinton carried the Granite State by fewer than 3,000 votes over Trump in 2016.

The president held a huge reelection rally here Monday night that drew more than 12,000 people.

“All the rallies have a lot of energy, but that was intense,” Trump Jr. said. “So I think we can do that. This is a pretty blue state for the most part, but my father’s appeal to that working class America, whether blue or red, it’s there.”

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Trump Jr. walked out of the arena to chants of “46” from supporters who want to see him run for president after his father, the 45th president, leaves office. But he said he’s not ready to consider his future in politics at the moment.

“My focus is right now 2020, that’s what it’s got to be,” he said.

On the future of the Democrats, Trump Jr. predicted a long and drawn out fight that would end at a contested convention, which he said would divide the party and benefit Trump.

“The last time they fixed a primary it worked out very well for us, so I don’t want to get in their way,” he said.

Trump Jr. acknowledged that former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned MORE (D) could spend “more than anything any person could ever raise in America” if he makes it to the general election.

“It will be a good test of how much money can buy and how much money can cover up,” he said.

The Bloomberg and Trump families have a history. 

Trump Jr. said he’s friends with Bloomberg’s daughter, Georgina Bloomberg.

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“We know Georgina, she’s always been great to us. We’re friends,” Trump Jr. said. “

“When the media has tried to do this us versus them thing, she’s been nothing but nice, nothing but respectful, and I have nothing but nice things to say about her.”

But he said that he’ll gladly unload on her father if the general election fight comes down to the two New Yorkers. 

“Unlike what the left tried to do with our family, I wouldn’t bring in his family, I don’t need to do that,” Trump Jr. said. “I will go after him. He kissed my father’s butt plenty of times to be on ‘The Apprentice’ … and you see all the pictures of him and Ivanka [Trump] and him and my father, and now he’s got a big problem [with us]. It seems mostly ego driven, but that’s OK.”

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