US Democratic Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called on his supporters to unite behind former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who is set to represent Democrats in the 2016 presidential election.
The Vermont senator, who was fighting Clinton as a candidate, took the stage on the first day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, in an attempt to unify the party against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“Any objective observer will conclude that based on her ideas and her leadership, Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders said on Monday. “The choice is not even close.”
Sanders addressed frustration among party voters who were divided after his endorsement of Clinton despite pledging to fight her until the end.
“Let me be as clear as I can be. This election is not about, and has never been about, Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders or any of the other candidates who sought the presidency,” Sanders said, while noting that “no one” was more disappointed than him about the results of the nomination process.
“This election is about – and must be about – the needs of the American people and the kind of future we create for our children and grandchildren,” he added.
Sanders then focused on attacking Trump, saying he was seeking personal gains in the race for the White House and betterment of people’s lives was not on his agenda.
He accused Trump of siding with billionaires like himself and proposing massive tax breaks for them, while opposing an increase in the federal minimum wage.
“He believes that states should actually have the right to lower the minimum wage below $7.25. What an outrage,” Sanders exclaimed.
Sanders also blasted Trump’s stance on climate change, implying that the Republican nominee had no concerns for “future generations” and only wanted to serve “the short-term profits of the fossil fuel industry.”
Healthcare and immigration were some of the other issues that Sanders used in his speech further tarnish Trump’s image.
The New York businessman, who is trying to appeal to Sanders’ large supporter base, quickly took to his Twitter and responded to the senator.
“Sad to watch Bernie Sanders abandon his revolution. We welcome all voters who want to fix our rigged system and bring back our jobs,” Trump wrote.
“Sanders has lost his energy, he’s lost his drive… I think he’s totally exhausted, but I think his supporters are not exhausted and his supports are liking what I’m saying,” he told Fox News later in the day.