Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) lambasted President Donald Trump for instigating the current crisis with Iran, saying the president’s strategy is akin to “setting fire to a basket full of paper and then putting it out.”
In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” which aired in full Sunday, Sanders was asked whether he believed Trump’s decision last week to call off a military strike against Iran was the “right one.”
Laughing, Sanders responded: “See, it’s like somebody setting fire to a basket full of paper and then putting it out. He helped create the crisis, and then he stopped the attacks.”
Trump, Sanders said, seems to think “that a war with Iran is something that might be good for this country.”
When host Margaret Brennan interjected to say that Trump had called the planned strike against Iran “limited,” Sanders replied sarcastically: “Oh, just a limited strike. Oh, well, I’m sorry. I just didn’t know that it’s OK to simply attack another country with bombs.”
“That’s an act of warfare,” Sanders stressed.
Bernie Sanders through the years
Bernie Sanders through the years
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks during an event in Iowa Falls, Iowa, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016. With a week to go until the Iowa caucuses and the Democratic presidential race there in a virtual dead heat, Hillary Clinton and Sanders are mapping out divergent paths toward winning the first votes of the nomination process. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Washington, UNITED STATES: Newly-elected senators meet with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (R), D-NV, in Washington, DC 13 November 2006. From left are: Senator-elect James Webb, D-VA, Senator-elect Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Senator-elect Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, and Reid. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
US Congressman Elliot Engel (L) takes pictures next to US Senator Bernie Sanders after being dressed as Bouale leaders by public notaries of the Kouadioyaokro village, 150 km from Abidjan, 09 November 2008. US Senators Tom Harkin and Bernie Sanders visit comes ahead of a July 2008 certification deadline to ensure cocoa heading to the United States -- the third largest importer of Ivorian cocoa -- has not been produced with child labour. AFP PHOTO/ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - APRIL 25: Potential Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (R) (I-VT) delivers remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party state convention April 25, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Sanders joined former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee in speaking to the convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participates in a 'Don't Trade Our Future' march organized by the group Campaign for America's Future April 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. The event was part of the Populism 2015 Conference which is conducting their conference with the theme 'Building a Movement for People and the Planet.'
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, greets supporters during a campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
Supporters hold up signs at a campaign rally for Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate, in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Sanders said he had attracted 200,000 donors as of mid-June and his campaign had raised $8.3 million online through June 17, according to FEC filings by ActBlue, the fundraising platform that he and some other left-leaning candidates and causes use. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
PORTLAND, ME - JULY 6: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Cross Insurance Arena while campaigning in the Democratic presidential primary. Sen. Bernie Sanders greets supporters after speaking in Portland. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 18: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center July 18, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Democratic presidential candidate spoke on his central issues of income inequality, job creation, controlling climate change, quality affordable education and getting big money out of politics, to more than 11,000 people attending. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
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Sanders is among the two dozen Democratic presidential candidates who hope to topple Trump in 2020. He said he believes a war with Iran would be “even worse” than the Iraq War ― causing “more loss of life” and triggering “massive instability” in the region.
The senator promised that if he’s elected commander in chief he would “do everything I can, number one, to stop a war with Iran.”
Trump tweeted on Friday that the U.S. military had been “cocked & loaded” to attack Iran after the country shot down an American surveillance drone. But the president said he chose to scrap the offensive with just 10 minutes to spare after he learned that 150 people could be killed in the attack.
The potential fatalities did not seem “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” the president tweeted, explaining his decision.
Several Democratic candidates for president have criticized Trump’s handling of the Iran crisis.