• Following President Donald Trump's prime-time address on immigration, Bernie Sanders said the biggest threat facing the US right now is climate change, not immigration.
  • The Vermont senator also said Trump should focus on providing healthcare and addressing college debt or poverty.
  • The scientific community has made it very clear in telling us that climate change is real and is causing devastating harm to our country and the entire planet, Sanders said in his rebuttal.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a fiery warning to President Donald Trump's prime-time address Tuesday night: Climate change is a bigger threat to the US than the "artificial" immigration crisis he was talking about.

"The scientific community has made it very clear in telling us that climate change is real and is causing devastating harm to our country and the entire planet," Sanders said. "They have told us in no uncertain terms that if we do not transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, our nation and our planet and the planet we will be leaving our kids and grandchildren may well become unhealthy and even uninhabitable in the not-so-distant future."

"It gives me no pleasure to tell you what most of you already know, and that is that President Trump lies all of the time," Sanders added later in his speech. "In his remarks tonight and in recent weeks regarding immigration and the wall, he continues to lie."

Sanders' nine-minute response came after the president's controversial Oval Office address, in which he said it was immoral for Congress "to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized" by criminals and drugs crossing the US-Mexico border.

In his speech, Sanders said the government shutdown "should never have happened."

Mr. President, we dont need to create artificial crises, we have enough real crises," the Vermont senator said in his rebuke, reminding viewers that Trump said he'd take responsibility for the shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a rebuttal that focused on the unity of the Democratic party against Trump's demands for $5.7 billion for a border wall. Sanders' speech focused more on areas he believes the president and Congress should be focusing.

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Sanders listed off student debt, poverty, poor healthcare coverage and the effect the government shutdown is having on federal workers and Americans who depend on federal services as things Trump should prioritize instead of a border wall. Climate change, however, was number one on his list of crises America is facing.

In his speech, Sanders addressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly, saying the Senate should vote now to end the shutdown in a "bipartisan way."

"Sen. McConnell, let's vote to end this shutdown now," he said. "President Trump tonight has told us why he believes we need the wall. It gives me no pleasure to tell you what most of you already know, and that is that President Trump lies all of the time. And in his remarks tonight and in recent weeks regarding immigration and the wall, he continues to lie."

McConnell has said that the Senate Republicans won't vote on a spending bill until it includes money for a wall.

Watch Sanders' entire speech here:

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