Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Sunday that "of course" he would use tariffs as president, but only if used in a "rational way within the context of a broad, sensible trade policy" — unlike what he believes President Trump is doing in his trade war with China.

The exchange:

KEILAR: "You have made clear that China is treating the U.S. unfairly when it comes to trade. I understand that you don't agree with the president's tactics or his style. But if you were president, would you use tariffs to negotiate a deal with China?"
SANDERS: "That is one tool that you have. What the president is doing is totally irrational and destabilizing the entire world economy. You do not make trade policy by announcing today that you're going to raise tariffs by X percent and the next day by Y percent, by attacking the person you appointed as head of the Federal Reserve as an enemy of the American people, by denouncing the president of China, who last year you really loved as a great leader. This kind of instability and irrationality on the part of the president is causing very serious harm to the entire world economy. 
KEILAR: "I understand your criticism of that. But you say this would be a tool. Is it a tool that you would use? Would you use tariffs?"
SANDERS: "Yeah, of course. If it is used in a rational way, within the context of a broad sensible trade policy, it is one tool that's available. You're looking at somebody, by the way, who helped lead the effort against permanent normal trade relations with China and NAFTA because trade policies that we have had in the past have lost us millions of good paying jobs and were written primarily by large corporations at the expense of workers and farmers. We need a rational trade policy today, not what Trump is doing by tweet."

The big picture: The populist Sanders has previously said that he does not believe in "unfettered free trade" and that he was "on the picket line in opposition to NAFTA" when it first came into effect.

  • Sanders' campaign told Axios last month that if elected, he would "begin a full review of tariffs against China, including advice from experts about which tariffs are working and what policies might better help American workers and change Chinese behavior. Tariffs may be 'part' of the answer, but the Trump administration lacks a serious strategy for managing China."

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats punt on Trump's China tariffs

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Technology

TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok said Monday night that it would pull its social video platform out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong amid a restrictive new law that went into effect last week.

Why it matters: TikTok's move comes as many large tech companies say they are still evaluating how to respond to the Hong Kong law.

4 hours ago - World

Ethiopia's Nobel Peace laureate cracks down on ethnic violence

The image of a Nobel Peace laureate in military fatigues encapsulates the moment in which Ethiopia finds itself — on the verge of a transition to democracy, a descent into violence or, perhaps, a precarious combination of the two.

Driving the news: At least 166 people were killed after an iconic musician, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was murdered last Monday in Addis Ababa, the capital. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed responded to the violence by sending in troops and shutting off the internet. High-profile opposition leaders were arrested, along with some 2,300 others.

Updated 6 hours ago - Health

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus after displaying no symptoms.

Why it matters: Bottoms, one of several Black women on the shortlist to be Joe Biden's running mate, has risen to national prominence in recent months as part of mass protests over racism and police brutality — driven in part by the killing of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police.