Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says the U.S. House set an important precedent Wednesday night, showing the country that inciting violence is an impeachable offense. 

In a one-on-one interview, Sanders said Trump could have said more to condemn those who participated in the insurrection.

“This President should have been and should be much more aggressive and say, ‘Hey, stay out of Washington D.C. Joe Biden is elected, he won the election, let it be,’” said Sanders. 

About 20,000 National Guard Members will be present on Inauguration Day next week, but Sanders says he expects it go peacefully.  

“What took place last week is beyond belief. The Capitol police were totally unprepared and we’re going to deal with why that happened, and I don’t believe that’s going to happen for the Inauguration,” said Sanders. 

Now, as the nation’s attention turns to the Senate trial, Sanders says lawmakers can’t lose sight of their priorities and issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“So, what we cannot do is spend a long period of time on the impeachment and ignore the needs of the American people,” said Sanders. “The pandemic is at a point now where more people are dying than ever before, getting sick, hospitals are overwhelmed. We’re looking at an economic meltdown, where millions of people lost their jobs and their income. People worried about being evicted, they’re worried about feeding their kids.”

When the Democrats assume control of the Senate, it’s expected that Sanders will chair the Senate Budget Committee. He says he will push for legislation that helps those struggling with job loss, eviction, poor nutrition and healthcare, as well as speed up vaccination rollout. 

“So, we got to significantly accelerate the distribution of vaccine getting those vaccines in people’s arms and make sure that we have the number of vaccines that we need as quickly as possible,” said Sanders. 

Despite the nation’s long term and immediate crises, Sanders says “there’s going to be light at the end of the tunnel.” 

“I think better days are coming, and I think we’ve got a new administration who understands the severity of the crisis. I’ve looked forward to working with him to address the situation here in Vermont, and around the country,” said Sanders.