Hillary Clinton responds to backlash: 'I will do whatever I can to support our nominee'

Former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Democratic demolition derby Juan Williams: Don't count Biden out Candidates in Obama's orbit fail to capitalize on personal ties MORE on Tuesday evening said she would back whichever candidate is chosen to be the Democratic nominee for president after a broadside she made against Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Bloomberg hits Sanders supporters in new ad MORE (I-Vt.) sparked heavy criticism earlier in the day. 

“I thought everyone wanted my authentic, unvarnished views! But to be serious, the number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee,” Clinton tweeted Tuesday evening.

 

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Her tweet came after Clinton drew backlash earlier Tuesday for saying in an as-yet-unreleased Hulu documentary that "nobody likes Sanders," who ran against her in the 2016 Democratic primary.

"He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him. Nobody wants to work with him. He got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney, and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it," Clinton said.

Clinton went on to accuse Sanders’s camp of tolerating “relentless” attacks on his primary competitors, particularly women.

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"I will say, however, that it's not only him. It's the culture around him. It's his leadership team. It's his prominent supporters. It's his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women," she said.

"And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, seems to really be very much supporting it," she added.

The comments also come after reports surfaced that Sanders told Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJoe Biden lost his fastball — can he get it back before South Carolina? Where the 2020 Democrats stand on taxes Budget hawks frustrated by 2020 politics in entitlement reform fight MORE (D-Mass.) that a woman could not win the 2020 presidential race against President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE. Warren insisted Sanders made the remark; Sanders denied doing so.

The 2016 primary contest between Clinton and Sanders was particularly fraught, with some Sanders supporters saying he lost the race only because of bias against him within the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The acrimony between the two camps was further fueled after Sanders waited several months to endorse Clinton.

The latest criticism of Sanders by Clinton, who maintains a loyal following of her own, raised fears among progressives that the former secretary of State would not throw her support behind Sanders should he win the 2020 nomination.

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“I hope that Clinton’s closest allies ... can talk to her about this. She has the ability to mobilize a part of the Democratic base, and it would be absolutely terrible for her not to fully support the Democratic nominee,” said Saikat Chakrabarti, the former spokesperson for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Democratic demolition derby Julián Castro endorses Rep. Cuellar's primary opponent in Texas Overnight Energy: Controversial Trump adviser reportedly returning to EPA | Delta aims to be first carbon neutral airline | Dem senator gives EPA D-minus on 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-N.Y.).

Sanders supporters also took to Twitter, making the hashtag "#ILikeBernie" lead the list of trending terms in the U.S. to back up their candidate.

Sanders maintained he would not get sidetracked by Clinton’s remarks, saying his focus remained on defeating President Trump and the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

“My focus today is on a monumental moment in American history: the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Together, we are going to go forward and defeat the most dangerous president in American history,” he said in a statement.