Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday afternoon endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president days after dropping his own campaign for the White House.
“Today I am asking all Americans — I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republican — to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy which I endorse,” Sanders said during a livestream event with Biden.
In response, an appreciative Biden called the endorsement a “big deal” and said he will need the Vermont senator’s support to not only defeat President Donald Trump, but to also lead the country if elected to the White House.
“If I am the nominee, which it looks like now you just made me, I am going to need you, not just to win the campaign, but to govern,” said the former vice president.
Sanders also revealed that the pair’s staff are in communication to create “task forces” aimed at addressing issues such as healthcare and immigration.
“It’s no great secret Joe that you and I have our differences, and we are not going to paper them over. That’s real,” Sanders stated. “But I hope that these task forces will come together, utilizing the best minds and people in your campaign and in my campaign, to work out real solutions to these very, very important problems.”
The announcement comes after Sanders suspended his campaign on Wednesday morning, paving the way for Biden to become the Democrat Party’s nominee. Though he is no longer campaigning, Sanders will stay on the ballot in remaining states to amass delegates to “continue working to assemble, as many delegates as possible at the Democratic Convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform.”
“We have taken on Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and the greed of the entire corporate elite. That struggle continues. While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not,” Sanders said at the time. “The fight for justice is what our campaign has been about. The fight for justice is what our movement remains about.”
“Let us go forward together,” he added. “The struggle continues.”
Sanders amassed the most votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, which opened primary voting, and cruised to an easy victory in Nevada — seemingly leaving him well positioned to sprint to the Democratic nomination while a deeply crowded and divided field of alternatives sunk around him.
But a crucial endorsement of Biden by influential South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, and a subsequent, larger-than-expected victory in South Carolina, propelled the former vice president into Super Tuesday, when he won 10 of 14 states.
In a matter of days, his top former Democratic rivals lined up and announced their endorsement of Biden. The former vice president’s campaign had appeared on the brink of collapse after New Hampshire but found new life as the rest of the party’s more moderate establishment coalesced around him as an alternative to Sanders.
Things only got worse the following week when Sanders lost Michigan, where he had campaigned hard and upset Clinton in 2016. He was also beaten in Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho the same night and the results were so decisive that Sanders headed to Vermont without speaking to the media.
The coronavirus outbreak essentially froze the campaign, preventing Sanders from holding the large rallies that had become his trademark and shifting the primary calendar. It became increasingly unclear where he could notch a victory that would help him regain ground against Biden.
Though he will not be the nominee, Sanders was a key architect of many of the social policies that dominated the Democratic primary, including a “Medicare for All” universal, government-funded health care plan, tuition-free public college, a $15 minimum wage and sweeping efforts to fight climate change under the “Green New Deal.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.