WASHINGTON — Bernie Sanders said Friday he will vote for Hillary Clinton for president in November, the strongest expression of support yet from the Vermont senator for his rival, and his clearest admission that he will not be the Democratic presidential nominee.
“Are you going to vote for Hillary Clinton in November,” asked Nicole Wallace on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“Yes. Yes, I think the issue right here is I am going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump,” Sanders said. “I think Trump in so many ways will be a disaster for this country if he were to be elected president.”
Sanders has not yet formally conceded the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but Clinton became the presumptive Democratic nominee as superdelegates committed to the former secretary of state and she won primaries in New Jersey and California.
Since then, Sanders has been plotting his political future and held a series of meetings with top Democrats, including President Barack Obama and Clinton herself as the party works to unify after the contentious primary.
Sanders explained that “my job right now is to fight for the strongest possible platform in the Democratic convention, and as we speak in St. Louis that’s going on right now. And that means a platform that represents working people, that stands up to big money interests. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Wallace followed up, “So will your vote be a vote for Hillary Clinton, or against Donald Trump?”
Sanders appeared to waver, answering, “well, I don’t want to parse words.” He proceeded to list a number of policy priorities that he’s made central to his campaign, saying “we need Democratic leadership to implement them.”
Pressed further, Sanders said, “Well, I’m pretty good at arithmetic. And what I know is that Hillary Clinton has more pledged delegates than I do, and she has a lot more superdelegates than I do.”
He then added that he would continue to work to shape the party platform, encourage new people to get involved in politics and “reinvigorate the Democratic Party.”
Sanders was also asked why he wouldn’t withdraw from the race if he’s acknowledged Clinton will be the Democratic nominee.
He replied, “Why would I want to do that when I want to fight to make sure that we have the best platform that we possibly can? that we win the most delegates that we can, and that we transform — the goal of our campaign was to transform this nation.”