Jim Jacobs, a small business owner, got into a heated exchange with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) during a CNN town hall Monday night over the Obama administration’s expansion of business regulations.
Chris Cuomo, the host of the town hall, introduced Jacobs as a Trump supporter from Pennslyvania.
“We keep getting kicked in the teeth by this administration. It’s regulation after regulation and tax after tax,” Jacobs said while beginning his question for Sanders. “Why is this administration so against the business owner?”
“I don’t think this administration, the Obama administration you’re referring to, is so against the business,” Sanders responded.
Jacobs audibly scoffed at the answer from the senator, a self-declared socialist who lost to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.
“Really?” Jacobs said.
“He raised taxes on the top 1 percent or 2 percent, and I would have gone further,” Sanders said of President Obama. “Fifty-two percent of all new income generated today goes to the top 1 percent. So you and I may have a difference, but yeah, I do believe that billionaires and multi-millionaires should be paying more in taxes.”
“I’m a business owner. I’m not a multi-millionaire; I’m not a billionaire,” Jacobs said. “You haven’t lived until you’ve put a payroll on your credit card. This is the reality of the backbone of this country.”
Sanders then castigated multinational corporations not paying more in taxes, a line that was a staple of his campaign speeches during his failed bid for president. Cuomo interrupted and asked Sanders if he saw any opportunity for working with Trump and Republicans on scaling back unnecessary regulations against small businesses.
“Should a small business or large business be able to pollute the water or the air or the food? No, I hope you don’t believe that,” Sanders said, turning back to look at Jacobs.
“I don’t pollute air, I don’t pollute water, and I don’t pollute food,” Jacobs responded, listing how hard it is to start a business with the government regulations that are currently on the books.