Sanders: 'I have a better relationship with Joe Biden than I had with Hillary Clinton'

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersChris Wallace: Trump struggling with attacks on 'shape-shifter' Harris Kamala Harris: The outreach Latinos need Biden and Harris seen as more moderate than Trump and Pence: poll MORE (I-Vt.) said he has “a better relationship” with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris to host virtual Hollywood campaign event co-chaired by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling Trump plans to accept Republican nomination from White House lawn US seizes four vessels loaded with Iranian fuel MORE than he had with former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Gloria Steinem: Selection of Kamala Harris recognizes that 'black women ... are the heart and soul of the Democratic Party' MORE.

Sanders, who was the No. 2 contender in each of the last two Democratic presidential primaries, told The New Yorker in an interview published Tuesday that he thinks he has a “stronger” and “closer” relationship with Biden because he’s known the former vice president for about 14 years. 

“I think the difference now is that, between you and me, I have a better relationship with Joe Biden than I had with Hillary Clinton,” Sanders said. “And that Biden has been much more receptive to sitting down and talking with me and other progressives than we have seen in the past.”

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The former 2020 contender said he chats with Biden on the phone, and if he requests a call, Biden’s campaign will set it up “within a day or two.” 

Sanders said the former vice president has been “open and personable and friendly, but his views and my views are very different, in some areas more than others.” The Vermont progressive predicted Biden will be “rather strong” on a push for a new economy and said Biden wants to be “as strong as possible” on climate change.

The senator said he is waiting to see what the six task forces, made up of his own and Biden’s supporters, come up with for agreements on the economy, health care, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, education and climate change policies. 

“Joe has been open to having his people sit down with some of the most progressive folks in America, and that’s a good sign,” Sanders said.

But Sanders said he rejects the argument that he could have done more to get Clinton elected president four years ago, saying he “did everything that I could in 2016” to get her into the White House and move the Democratic Party in a progressive direction.

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“There is a myth out there that all a candidate has to say, whether it’s Bernie Sanders or anybody else, to millions of people who voted for him or her, is, ‘I want you to do this,’ and every single person is going to fall in line,” he said. “That’s just not the way it works in a democracy. In fact, that’s not the way it should work.” 

Biden formally clinched the Democratic presidential nomination last week. Sanders dropped out of the race in early April after the former vice president developed a strong lead starting with the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday. 

Democrats have criticized the Vermont progressive for not throwing enough support behind Clinton in the 2016 election, saying that helped lead to President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE’s win.