Clyburn says Sanders never asked for his endorsement
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), whose endorsement of former Vice President Joe Biden provided a key boost ahead of South Carolina’s primary Saturday, says Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) never sought such an endorsement from him, despite good relations in the past.
Clyburn responded, “No, not really,” when asked by The Daily Beast for an article published Wednesday if Sanders or his presidential campaign asked him for an endorsement ahead of the primary in Clyburn’s home state.
“I had a lot of conversations with almost every one of the candidates,” he said, referencing the almost two dozen candidates, including Sanders, who accompanied Clyburn to his famous fish fry in Columbia, S.C., last June.
“I don’t need to be courted,” Clyburn added.
Exit polls from Edison Research found 61 percent of Democratic voters in South Carolina said his endorsement was a factor in their voting choice, according to Reuters.
After Biden converted his South Carolina win into a bevy of Super Tuesday victories, Clyburn took a victory lap on Wednesday.
“My aim was not just to win South Carolina, but to win it big enough so as to create a surge for Joe Biden,” Clyburn told The Hill. “Someone asked me ‘are you trying to stop Bernie Sanders?’ No, I wasn’t trying to stop him. I’m trying to create a surge for Joe Biden.”
After the election in South Carolina, Sanders had criticized “the political and economic establishment of this country” for attempting to halt the momentum of his campaign.
“They’re getting very nervous about our campaign,” Sanders said Saturday.
“I find it very interesting that someone is referring to African American voters in South Carolina as the establishment,” Clyburn told The Daily Beast. “I don’t understand how that vote can be dismissed.”
The Hill has reached out to Sanders’s campaign for further comment.