Bernie Sanders Says He Hopes to Move Joe Biden "in a More Progressive Direction"

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) addresses supporters during his caucus night watch party on February 03, 2020- Getty - H 2020
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In his first interview since dropping out of the presidential race, the Vermont senator did not endorse the presumptive Democratic candidate but said "we're going to be talking to Joe, and we're talking to his team of advisors."

Bernie Sanders isn't yet endorsing presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden but says he will do "everything I can to make sure Donald Trump will not be re-elected."

During his first interview since suspending his campaign on Wednesday morning, the Vermont senator emphasized on The Late Show on Wednesday night that he is trying to work with Biden and his campaign before giving it an official endorsement. "It's no great secret that Joe Biden's politics are different from mine," he told host Stephen Colbert as they spoke to each other via video chat. "I hope to be able to work with Joe to move him in a more progressive direction."

When asked point-blank if he would give a "full-throated endorsement" of the former vice president, Sanders responded that he will be "talking to Joe, and we're talking to his team of advisors." Still,  he added, "What I said from the first day that I announced my intention to run for president, I will do everything I can to make sure Donald Trump has not been re-elected."

When asked why he ended his campaign now, Sanders said that in addition to the math not working in his favor — he was about 300 delegates short — he also couldn't publicly campaign in the same way as he could before the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, he said, he wants to focus on being a senator to focus on "the collapse that we're experiencing" due to the virus.

The long-term effect he hoped his campaign would have would be to ask the question, "Why?" He said he wanted the campaign to ask "Why do we have so much income inequality?" and "Why do we have to live in a society that has so much greed at the top?" He added that in the past few weeks, more people might have begun to question the sagacity of widespread employer-provided health care instead of guaranteed national health care. "Health care is not a privilege, it is not an employer benefit, it is a human right," he said, repeating a campaign catchphrase.

As to whether anyone had notified Larry David — who is Sanders' cousin and impersonates him on Saturday Night Live — prior to Sanders' announcement that he was dropping out of the race, Sanders chuckled, responding, "No, actually to be honest with you, Jane and I just told our kids this morning."

The 78-year-old's second presidential campaign surpassed expectations, especially garnering the support of young and Hispanic voters. In 2020 Sanders won California, Iowa, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, North Dakota, the Northern Mariana Islands and Nevada primaries as well as U.S. citizens abroad, but was ultimately quashed on Super Tuesday by Biden, who won 10 out of 14 states.