Since President Trump took office in January, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has been recognized by multiple polls as the most popular politician in the country. In recent days, Sanders has taken a firm stance on policies like the Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, while offering cautious condemnation of Donald Trump Jr.'s emails amid alleged collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
"From my point of view, it is a very damaging piece of evidence," Sanders said of Trump Jr.'s emails Thursday on Sirius XM’s "Make It Plain With Mark Thompson."
"But what is important is that there be a methodical, objective, bipartisan process that looks at this whole business of the possibility of Trump’s campaign colluding with the Russians," he added. "To me, this is pretty clearly a damaging revelation. But the process has got to continue, and it will."
This cautious message was noticeably different than his other Democratic colleagues like Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia who said Tuesday that the president's son "may have committed treason" after the email links were released on Twitter.
"Bernie Sanders tells me re: Don Jr emails: 'These are very, very, very serious allegations' but 'there should not be a rush to judgment,'" Associated Press reporter Steven Peoples posted on Twitter.
Bernie Sanders tells me re: Don Jr emails: “These are very, very, very serious allegations" but “there should not be a rush to judgment"
— Steve Peoples (@sppeoples) July 11, 2017
Sanders' tepid response to the Trump Jr. emails was not particularly surprising given his populist message that focused on economic reform throughout the 2016 campaign. During the Democratic primaries, Sanders preferred to stay away from attacking Hillary Clinton on the email scandal, and instead focused on economic reform.
True to form, he responded to the latest version of the Senate healthcare bill with less caution and much more resolution. He was quick to note that the healthcare plan put forth by the Republicans was an "absolute disaster" and said that he hoped it didn't through the Senate.
"The revised Republican 'healthcare' plan is an absolute disaster that will inflict severe economic pain on millions of Americans," Sanders said in a statement Thursday, according to The Hill.
The Republican health care bill is an insult to the American people. It belongs in a garbage can.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 11, 2017
Prior to the Donald Trump Jr. email scandal, Sanders teased his line of attack against President Trump in a Sunday speech in Morgantown, West Virginia. He remained focused on the president's broken promises to the working class and stayed clear of mentioning anything that has to do with Russia or collusion.
“I am more than aware that Donald Trump did very well in the state of West Virginia, I got that,” Sanders told the crowd at the ballroom, according to a report in the Atlantic.
"Donald Trump told the people that he was going to be a champion of the working class,” he said. "I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but I suspect most of you already know it, Donald Trump was not telling you the truth."
When asked about whether or not Democrats should negotiate with Republicans on healthcare, Sanders remained resolute in his message to stand up to "tax breaks for billionaires."
"If somebody opens the door, I think you walk in, but obviously you don’t walk in if he’s talking about tax breaks for billionaires. You don’t walk in, if he’s still talking about throwing 23 million people off their health insurance," Sanders said.
"You do walk in," he added, "if, by some chance, there are some Republicans who want to improve the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act has problems. Deductibles, premiums, co-payments are too high. Prescription drug costs are much too high. How do we improve that? Let’s do that."