Sanders: Progressives who 'sit on their hands' and don't support Biden would enable Trump reelection

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Bernie Sanders' ex-spokesperson apprehensive over effectiveness of SALT deductions BBB threatens the role of parents in raising — and educating — children MORE (I-Vt.) said it would be “irresponsible” for his supporters to not back Joe BidenJoe BidenSouth Africa health minister calls travel bans over new COVID variant 'unjustified' Biden attends tree lighting ceremony after day out in Nantucket Senior US diplomat visiting Southeast Asia to 'reaffirm' relations MORE’s presidential campaign, warning that refusing to get behind the former vice president could get President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE reelected.

“Do we be as active as we can in electing Joe Biden and doing everything we can to move Joe and his campaign in a more progressive direction? Or do we choose to sit it out and allow the most dangerous president in modern American history to get reelected?” Sanders asked in an interview with The Associated Press

“I believe that it’s irresponsible for anybody to say, ‘Well, I disagree with Joe Biden -- I disagree with Joe Biden! -- and therefore I’m not going to be involved.’”

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The remarks come a day after Sanders, who suspended his White House bid last week, endorsed Biden’s campaign

Monday’s endorsement put to rest months of Democratic handwringing that Sanders would withhold his support for Biden over policy disagreements between the progressive senator and more centrist former vice president. Sanders’s endorsement, made just five days after he dropped out, came much faster than it did for Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE in 2016, when Sanders waited over a month to back the former secretary of state.

While Sanders told the AP he will no longer actively campaign or spend money on advertising for upcoming primary races, he will remain on the ballot to garner delegates that can influence the party platform at the summer’s convention and will continue advocating for policies such as “Medicare for All.”

“If people want to vote for me, we’d appreciate it,” Sanders said. “I think you’re going to see significant movement on the part of the Biden campaign into a more progressive direction on a whole lot of issues.” 

Biden has indicated that he intends to try to win over progressives to his campaign, releasing plans to broaden Medicare and alleviate some student debt.

While some liberals have indicated they do not intend to vote for Biden unless he embraces more progressive policies he has already come out against, Sanders encouraged voters to look past policy disagreements.

“I will do everything I can to help elect Joe,” Sanders said. “We had a contentious campaign. We disagree on issues. But my job now is to not only rally my supporters, but to do everything I can to bring the party together to see that (Trump) is not elected president.”