"What the president does is completely irrational and destabilizes the entire global economy," the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 said in an interview broadcast on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday. "You are not making a trade policy by announcing today that you will be raising tariffs by X percent and the next day by Y percent by attacking the person you have appointed Chief of the Federal Reserve as an enemy of the American people."
Asked by CNN's Brianna Kailar whether he would use tariffs to cut a deal with China during his own presidency, Sanders replied that he would.
"Yes, of course, it is used in a rational way in the context of a broad, sensible commercial policy. This is one tool that is available," he said. "By the way, you are looking at someone who helped lead the efforts against the continued normal trade relations with China and the (North American Free Trade Agreement)."
While in the G7 on the Atlantic coast of France, Trump told reporters he had his own concerns about tariffs against China.
"I have second thoughts about everything," he said, without saying what he might review. Hours later, his spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told reporters that the president's remark had been "misinterpreted" and that "President Trump replied in the affirmative – because he regretted not raising the tariffs."
Sanders has dealt with the president repeatedly in trade policy, recently opposing the renegotiation of the NAFTA administration, the US-Mexico-Canada agreement.
In an interview broadcast Sunday, Sanders stated, "We need a sound trade policy today, not what Trump does with a tweet."