Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is using public fears about the coronavirus as a fundraising tool for his 2020 presidential campaign.
Sanders sent out a campaign email to supporters Monday asking them to sign a petition demanding the government guarantee that a potential coronavirus vaccine will be free of charge. The petition asks supporters for “contributions to fight back against drug companies who want to profit off of health care.”
“I am not very confident in the president’s ability to manage this crisis,” he wrote in the email.
“Health experts agree that the spread of the coronavirus will likely get worse before it gets better,” Sanders added.
“Donald Trump must stop spreading lies and fear, and leave the science to scientists and health professionals, not politicians.”
The petition linked in the email includes three questions, counting the donation pitch.
The other two questions ask respondents if they “believe that vaccines, tests, treatment, and quarantines related to the coronavirus should be FREE?” and if they “know that drug companies are spending BIG money in order to defeat our movement?”
Sanders’s campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the email.
Sanders is trailing front-runner former Vice President Joe Biden in the Democratic presidential primary.
Data analytics site FiveThirtyEight gives Biden a 95% chance of securing a majority of delegates before the Democratic National Convention in July.
Sanders is given less than a 1% chance to do the same.