U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president at a campaign event in New Hampshire Tuesday in an effort to unify the Democratic party and defeat Donald Trump in the general election.
"She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States," Sanders said.
Sanders has long held out in conceding the nomination to Clinton, but acknowledged Tuesday that her lead in delegates and pledged superdelegates heading into the Democratic National Convention means that she has won the Democratic nominating process. He said that he does not want to focus on the past, which has included a sometimes bitter campaign between the two Democrats, but instead focus on the future.
"The profound less that I have learned is that this campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or any other candidate who sought the presidency. This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face. And there is no doubt in my mind that as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that," Sanders said.
Though Clinton's nomination was practically a sure thing following the primary elections across the country, part of the reason Sanders stayed in the race so long was so that he and his supporters could have a bigger voice crafting the 2016 Democratic Platform. He said Tuesday that a Clinton presidency would see progress on a number of issues, including raising the minimum wage, appointing progressive Supreme Court justices, supporting a woman's right to choose and the LGBT community, expanding healthcare, reforming campaign finance laws, lowering student debt and fighting climate change.
"It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues, and that is what this campaign has been about. That is what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that in the Democratic Platform Committee, which ended Sunday night in Orlando, there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns, and we produced by far the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic party," Sanders said. "Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratically controlled Senate, a Democratically controlled House, and a Hillary Clinton presidency. And I intend to be in every corner of this country to make certain that happens."
Clinton said she was grateful to Sanders for the hard-fought campaign, as well as for his support in the general election.
"I can't help but reflect how much more enjoyable this election is going to be now that we are on the same side," she said.
"Over these last few weeks, Bernie and I have worked together on plans to put college within reach for more people and to ensure that everyone in America has access to quality, affordable healthcare. And now, with your help, we are going to be joining forces to defeat Donald Trump, win in November, and yes, together build a future we can all believe in."
In a speech that took several shots at Trump and his supporters, Clinton said that Democrats must work together in order to heal nationwide wounds brought about by recent killings of African Americans and police officers, as well as to bring about criminal justice reform, fight bias and crack down on income inequality. She also said she would work to invest in jobs, make college debt-free, stop companies from shipping jobs overseas, reform the tax code, and support paid leave and equal pay for women.
"I think both of us realize that each of our campaigns together represent the best of who we are and now it is time for us to take that message to the rest of the country," Clinton said. "I am fully aware that the other side will do everything possible to distort, to disinform, and we can't let that happen."
Trump took to Twitter shortly after the announcement to attack Sanders and Clinton. He accused Sanders of "selling out" and abandoning his supporters.
"Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs," Trump tweeted.
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