Hours after Bernie Sanders ended his campaign for President on Wednesday, the Vermont senator gave his first interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show — and was pressed about endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden, now leading the Democratic nomination in the 2020 race.
Colbert immediately asked Sanders if he’s spoken to Biden since suspending his run, to which Sanders said, “Yes I have,” before shifting to what separates the two candidates.
— A Late Show (@colbertlateshow) April 9, 2020
“It’s no secret that Joe’s politics are different than mine,” Sanders began, “but I have known Joe since I came to the Senate in 2006, worked with him when he was Vice President in the Obama administration. And what I would say to people is that Joe is a very decent human being. I know his wife Jill as well, a wonderful person. And that I hope to be able to work with Joe to move him in a more progressive direction.”
“Joe is a good politician,” he added. “And he understands that in order to defeat Trump, he’s gonna have to bring new people into his political world and that he’s gonna have to listen to their needs — young people, working people — and maybe start moving in a different direction, to some degree, than he has in the past.”
Colbert noted that Sanders said essentially the same statement in his livestream address earlier that day, then hit him with the question: “Is that a full-throated endorsement of Joe Biden?”
“We’re gonna be talking to Joe,” Sanders replied, “I will do everything I can to make sure that Donald Trump is not reelected. Because I believe Trump has been the most dangerous president of modern history in this country, and we’re seeing his narcissism, his ignorance, playing out in terms of the pandemic we’re experiencing right now.”
Sanders was an early frontrunner of the primary, remaining strong at the Iowa caucuses in February — where he won the popular vote and essentially tied in pledged delegates with Pete Buttigieg. He also won New Hampshire and went on to dominate Nevada, making it believable he had a chance to win the 2020 primary.
Sanders’ victory came to an end in South Carolina, where he failed to win over older black voters. Biden took the lead in Texas, as Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and others dropped out and endorsed him.
“We have never been just a campaign,” Sanders said in his suspension announcement. “We are a grassroots, multiracial multigenerational movement. While this campaign is coming to an end, our movement is not. The fight for justice is what our campaign has been about. It’s what our movement remains about.”