WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Thursday that he is committed to preventing Donald Trump from winning the presidency and plans to meet with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to discuss his role in the general election effort.
Delivering brief remarks to the press after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Sanders suggested he is ready to cooperate with the Democratic Party in a general election in which he is not the party’s nominee, even as he declined to formally concede the race to Clinton.
Sanders said he had called Clinton on Tuesday night to congratulate her on her election wins.
“I look forward to meeting with her in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent,” he said.
Obama released a video endorsing Clinton shortly after his meeting with the Vermont senator.
Sanders appeared to be in high spirits after speaking with Obama, sharing a laugh as he walked with the president to a lectern on the White House grounds. Sanders’ wife, Jane, stood close by.
He thanked Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for the “degree of impartiality” they showed during the primary process.
Sanders did not repeat his previous plans to continue seeking the support of superdelegates, a Hail Mary move that could set up a bitter fight at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. He said, however, that he would “take” his policy priorities — such as expanding Social Security and alleviating poverty — to the convention.
The Democratic presidential candidate reaffirmed his disdain for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, calling the prospect of a Trump presidency a “disaster.”
“Needless to say, I am going to do everything in my power, and I will work as hard as I can, to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States,” Sanders said.
Nonetheless, Sanders confirmed his intention to campaign for the District of Columbia primary on Tuesday. He plans to emphasize his support for giving the District of Columbia statehood.
“The state of Vermont, which I represent, has about the same amount of residents as Washington, D.C., has except we have two United States senators and one congressman with full rights, while D.C. does not,” he said.
Sanders, who requested the White House meeting, met with the president for over an hour. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama complimented Sanders on his electoral success and discussed ways they can work together to harness the excitement Sanders has inspired to ensure the Democratic Party is as diverse and dynamic as possible.
Bringing more people into the Democratic Party “has been a longstanding goal of President Obama and obviously President Obama had his own success in building a coalition that involved a lot of young Americans and not all Democrats,” Earnest said. “Sen. Sanders built on that progress.”
Sanders declined to take questions after giving his short remarks. He then visited Capitol Hill, where he met with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
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