On Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, and was asked by host Jake Tapper about fellow Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) trial:
TAPPER: Democratic Senator Bob Melendez is facing corruption charges in New Jersey. I want to show you a new poll from Suffolk University/USA Today — it finds that 84% of the people in New Jersey would want Menendez to resign if he’s convicted. Where do you come down on this? If Senator Menendez is convicted, should he resign immediately?
SANDERS: Woah woah woah woah woah, I think in this country, people are entitled to due process. I'm not into speculating "what if." That will be Menendez's decision. He has not been convicted. Let the process take its course. In America, that's what it's about. You have a trial and people — the jury makes its decision. They have not made their decision, so I think it's a little bit premature to be talking about that.
Now, what Sanders said is perfectly prudent — although you can bet that if the situation were reversed, and it was a Republican facing corruption charges, Sanders would have answered directly and with vigor.
In fact, Sanders doesn’t seem to mind speculation when it involves President Trump. When asked on Sunday’s State of the Union if "race or ethnicity might be playing a factor" in the president’s treatment of Puerto Rico, Sanders didn’t demure. Instead, he said:
Well, look, given the president’s history on race, given the fact that he — a few months ago — told us that there were "good people on both sides" when neo-nazis were marching in Charlottesville, yeah, I think we have a right to be suspect that he is treating the people of Puerto Rico in a different way than he has treated the people of Texas or Florida.
To be fair, these situations aren’t exactly analogous. However, it’s clear that speculating on Trump’s motives isn’t something Bernie Sanders feels he should avoid, even when he stated very strongly that he’s "not into speculating" when it came to his colleague, Bob Menendez, who is on trial for serious crimes.