Sanders says he has 'stayed away from' Biden's VP search

Sanders says he has 'stayed away from' Biden's VP search
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden aspires to become America's auto-pen president Progressive Mondaire Jones wins NY primary to replace Nita Lowey OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden pledges carbon-free power by 2035 in T environment plan | Trump administration has been underestimating costs of carbon pollution, government watchdog finds | Trump to move forward with rollback of bedrock environmental law MORE (I-Vt.) said Monday that he is staying out of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign slams Trump's Rose Garden event as 'sad affair' New shutdowns add to Trump woes CNN cuts away from Trump's 'campaign-type' Rose Garden speech MORE’s search for a running mate but that he’ll continue to press the presumptive Democratic nominee to fill his Cabinet with progressives.

Speaking at a Washington Post Live event, Sanders was asked if he’d provided input to the Biden campaign as it conducts a search for a woman to be his vice presidential candidate.

“That’s an issue I’ve kind of stayed away from,” Sanders said.

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“It’s a decision he’s going to have to make, someone you trust. Picking a running mate is a very personal decision, it’s not just an ideological decision, it’s a personal decision and he is who he is and he’ll have to make a decision picking somebody he’s comfortable with.”

Biden is reportedly considering several top Democratic women to be his running mate, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Senators raise concerns over Facebook's civil rights audit Biden's marijuana plan is out of step with public opinion MORE (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenProgressive Mondaire Jones wins NY primary to replace Nita Lowey Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel Biden campaign announces second round of staff hires in Arizona MORE (D-Mass.), as well as Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsSusan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race Liberal veterans group urges Biden to name Duckworth VP Democrats seize on Florida pandemic response ahead of general election MORE (D-Fla.) and former Georgia state House member Stacey Abrams.

Warren is the favored candidate for vice president among the progressive left. She and Sanders have long been close ideological allies in the Senate, but they clashed bitterly at times over the course of the Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders on Monday declined to endorse anyone to be Biden’s running mate.

“Elizabeth is an outstanding U.S. senator and I think she’d be a great choice, if that’s someone Biden feels comfortable with,” he said.

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“It’s a very personal decision, not quite like getting married, but it’s someone you have to feel comfortable with and a lot of that is personal chemistry,” Sanders said.

Sanders on Monday said that he’d do everything in his power to ensure that Biden defeats President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE in November.

However, he acknowledged that he and Biden still have “strong political disagreements” and said he’d continue to push the former vice president on both the policy front and to ensure that progressives are represented in his administration.

The Vermont senator said he hopes Biden will look to the Congressional Progressive Caucus to choose who will lead his Treasury Department and Department of Health and Human Services if he wins in November.

“I hope very much that Joe will take a hard look at some of the leading progressives in this country ... what you need to bring into the Cabinet is not only people who have the progressive ideology, but people who have the experience of interacting with working-class people, who understand that now is the time to tell the billionaire class and 1 percent that this economy is going to change,” Sanders said.

In addition, Sanders said he’d continue to push Biden on key issues, such as health care, where the left is pushing for a single-payer option often expressed as "Medicare for All." Biden says he’s committed to expanding ObamaCare.

“Absolutely, look, no question, look, I’m supporting Joe Biden, but Joe and I have very serious disagreements on policy,” Sanders said.

“I strongly support Joe, but it’s just hard for me to imagine how anybody could defend the current structure of our health care system,” he added.

Still, Sanders said that his supporters should not be skeptical of Biden’s commitment to progressive ideals, saying that the left has put into the mainstream many issues that were once dismissed by centrist Democrats.

“You’ve got someone like a Joe Biden, right now, who does not hold all my views — Joe believes in $15 minimum wage now,” Sanders said. “Joe believes in creating millions of jobs rebuilding the infrastructure. Joe believes in making it much easier for workers to join unions. I think you’re going to see him coming out very strongly on some progressive ideas on climate change. So we’ve come a long way, and it’ something we should be very proud of.”

Sanders, who mounted vigorous challenges to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrat Dana Balter to face Rep. John Katko in NY House rematch GOP lawmaker: Don't believe polls showing Trump behind Biden Kyle Van De Water wins New York GOP primary to challenge Rep. Antonio Delgado MORE in 2016 and Biden in 2020 but fell short both times, was asked if he would ever consider running for president again.

“I think the likelihood is very, very slim at that,” he said. “I think next time around you’ll see another progressive carrying the banner ... I think it’s very, very unlikely that I’ll ever be running for president again.