A top adviser to Donald TrumpDonald TrumpYoungkin ad features mother who pushed to have 'Beloved' banned from son's curriculum White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled MORE said in an interview broadcast Sunday that the president-elect would have had a tougher race against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE if she would have picked Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats face critical 72 hours Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Manchin nixes Medicare expansion Manchin shutting down Sanders on Medicare expansion MORE as her running mate.
"He won 22 states and 13 million voters, and that ain't nothing," said Kellyanne Conway during a joint interview with Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on CNN.
Conway then thanked Sanders for his effect on the campaign, saying he "softened up" Clinton for the Trump campaign.
"The fact is his supporters were still out there protesting her," Conway added. "He was in -- he was in the hall being, you know, a dutiful Democratic Convention soldier, but his -- his supporters were not."
She also criticized Clinton's decision to pick Virginia Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineObama gives fiery speech for McAuliffe: 'Don't sit this one out' Biden injects new momentum into filibuster fight Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE as her running mate.
"I assume that her choice of Tim Kaine had something to do with Virginia but maybe also with not being overshadowed," Conway said.
"I thought that he was not a particularly effective pick in the end or at the beginning."
Mook said Sanders was considered, but Kaine represented Clinton's "views and values" best.
"[Sanders] was up on that list because he deserved to be on the list. And he was considered fully along with over 30 other people," Mook said. "But at the end of the day, she felt like Tim Kaine would represent her views and values if, God forbid, he had to become president; that he had the background and preparation to do the job. But also that that partnership and that chemistry was the right one. "