Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that it would be “irresponsible” if his supporters did not support Joe Biden, and warned that progressives who would sit idly by in the coming months would simply enable the reelection of President Donald Trump.
And, in case of doubt, the 78-year-old senator confirmed that “it is probably a sound assumption” that he will not run again for the presidency. “You can’t predict the future,” he added, with a laugh.
Sanders, who suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination last week, spoke at length with The Associated Press about his decision to support Biden, his future politician, and the urgent need to unite the Democratic Party. He criticized President Donald Trump, but he also offered scathing criticism to his own followers, who, so far, have resisted his promise to do whatever it takes to help Biden win the presidency.RELATED
He appeared to distance himself from his former campaign press secretary, Briahna Joy Gray, when asked about her recent social media statement refusing to support Biden.
“He is my former press secretary, he is not on the payroll,” Sanders said. A spokesperson later clarified that all campaign employees were no longer on the payroll since Tuesday, although they will receive compensation in May.
Sanders said his supporters had a simple choice now that Biden emerged as the likely nominee: Will we be as active as we can to choose Joe Biden and do everything we can to move Joe and his campaign in a more progressive direction? Or do we choose to stay on the sidelines and allow the most dangerous president in modern American history to be re-elected? “
Sanders said he would not actively campaign or spend money on advertising for the primary races that are still pending for the coming months. But he motivated Democrats in those states to vote for him, hoping to gather as many delegates as possible to take advantage and shape the party platform and direction for Biden’s campaign.
He also promised to continue fighting as a senator for progressive priorities, such as his distinctive “Medicare for All,” although Biden has refused to accept the universal health care system.
“If people want to vote for me, we will appreciate it,” Sanders said of the approximately 20 missing primary races where his name appears on the ballot. “I think they will see a major move in the Biden part of the campaign toward a more progressive direction on many issues.”