“So today, I am asking all Americans, I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse,” Sanders said in a video conversation with Biden.
“We’ve got to make Trump a one-term president and we need you in the White House,” Sanders said. “So I will do all that I can to see that that happens.”
Sanders dropped out of the presidential campaign last week, leaving Biden as the presumptive nominee. But Sanders did not say when and whether he would encourage his supporters to back Biden’s presidential bid. Instead, Sanders said that conversations were ongoing with the Biden campaign, while saying that he would remain on the ballot in upcoming primaries and would continue to amass delegates.
Sanders’ endorsement of Biden comes much earlier than in 2016, when Sanders waited until July 12 to back Hillary Clinton. That came right before the start of the Democratic National Convention and didn’t result in a display of unity at the event itself. The lingering divisions among their supporters were apparent during convention week, when Sanders’ supporters jeered and chanted when Clinton’s name was mentioned.
On Monday, Biden and Sanders announced the formation of joint task forces to address policies on issues like the economy, immigration and climate change. In their video chat, Biden praised Sanders, particularly on issues like student debt.
“Your endorsement means a great deal,” Biden said to Sanders. “If I am the nominee, which is looks like now you just made me, I’m going to need you, not just to win the campaign, but to govern.”
He added, “I promise you I will not let you down.”
At the end of their chat, Sanders joked with Biden about wanting to play some chess. “What do you think?” he asked.