President Barack Obama & Sanders pledges to work with Clinton to defeat Trump

June 9, 2016

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Bernie Sanders on Thursday emerged from a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and vowed to work together with Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump in November.

Warning that a Trump presidency would be a “disaster,” the Vermont senator — who pledged to continue his White House bid even after Clinton became the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee — said he would “work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the Untied States.”
“I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) 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,” Sanders told reporters after an Oval Office meeting that lasted more than one hour.
The senator thanked both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden for showing “impartiality” during the course of the Democratic campaign.
“They said in the beginning is that they would not put their thumb on the scales and they kept their word and I appreciate that very, very much,” Sanders said.
He added that he will monitor a “full counting of the votes” in California, where Clinton won the Democratic primary contest on Tuesday. The results will show “a much closer vote,” Sanders predicted.
Sanders’ high-profile meeting with Obama and his public remarks afterward come just days after Sanders declared that he intends to continue his 2016 campaign. At a rally Tuesday night, Sanders had declined to acknowledge that Clinton had secured the necessary delegates to win her party’s nomination. He vowed to forge ahead to the District of Columbia’s primary next week, and then on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
This decision has put Democrats on high alert, as they look to quickly change gears and take on Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
The Sanders-Obama meeting Wednesday marked the two men’s second White House sitdown this primary season and the fourth time they’ve spoken in the last month. Aides said Obama would work to move Sanders toward an acceptance of Clinton as the nominee.
Senior Democrats say it’s unlikely Obama will make any joint appearances with Clinton before next week’s primary, the final nominating contest this year. However, a formal Obama endorsement could come earlier — perhaps as early as Thursday.
White House officials hoped Obama could prod the Vermont senator toward eventually acting as a unifying figure for the Democratic Party.
“My hope is, is that over the next couple of weeks, we’re able to pull things together,” Obama told Jimmy Fallon during a taping of “The Tonight Show” Wednesday. “The main role I’m gonna be playing in this process is — to remind the American people that this is a serious job. You know, this is not reality TV. I’ve seen the decisions that have to be made. And the work that has to be done. And I have a lot of confidence that if the American people are reminded of what’s at stake and all the incredible important issues that we gotta get right, that they’re gonna make a good choice. That’s what they usually do.”
Thursday has the potential to shed even more light on the senator’s intentions and state of mind as the general election kicks off in earnest.
Sanders will meet with Biden this afternoon at the Naval Observatory, according to sources. The vice president does not plan to make any endorsements before those conversations, one aide said.
Sanders will also sit down in the afternoon with his long-time friend and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who has publicly said Sanders should “give up.”
Reid wants to listen to what Sanders has to say and is not interested in strong-arming his colleague, according to a source familiar with Reid’s thinking. The source added that Reid believes Sanders can be helpful in Senate races, including in raising money, and is open to any number of ways to unite the party.
In the evening, Sanders will attend a campaign rally in Washington.
Since clinching her party’s nomination, Clinton has stuck to a conciliatory tone when it comes to her rival.
In her victory speech in Brooklyn Tuesday night, Clinton congratulated Sanders for an “extraordinary campaign” and sought to reach out to his supporters.
“Let there be no mistake: Sen. Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, and increase upward mobility, have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America,” Clinton said.
As a part of an overarching strategy to bring Sanders fans into the fold, the Clinton campaign and its surrogates have no plans to call on the senator to get out of the race.
“Bernie Sanders has really done a great job for our country, for our democracy, certainly for the Democratic Party and for young people,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday. “Now, what’s the next step? That’s really up to him. He deserves the time.”