Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday after a tough-fought primary battle between the two Democratic presidential candidates.
Appearing alongside Clinton in their first joint campaign appearance, Sanders said the former secretary of state “will make an outstanding president,” and that he’s “proud to stand with her here today.”
“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process, and I congratulate her for that,” Sanders said.
“I have come here today not to talk about the past, but to focus on the future,” he continued. “That future will be shaped more by what happens on November 8 in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. I have come here to make it as clear as possible as to why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president.”
The Vermont senator specifically touted Clinton’s healthcare policy proposals, plan to combat opioid addiction, and understanding of income and wealth disparity.
“Hillary Clinton knows that something is very wrong when the very rich become richer while many others are working longer hours for lower wages,” Sanders said. “She knows that it is absurd that middle-class Americans are paying an effective tax rate higher than hedge fund millionaires, and that there are corporations in this country making billions in profit while they pay no federal income taxes in a given year because of loopholes their lobbyists created.”
Sanders also extensively laid into Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, slamming his inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants and minorities, and citing the Supreme Court justices that the next president would likely appoint.
“If you don’t believe this election is important, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump will nominate, and what that means to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country,” Sanders said.
He added: “While Donald Trump is busy insulting Mexicans, Muslims, women, African Americans and veterans, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Yes, we become stronger when black and white, Latino, Asian American, Native American – all of us – stand together. Yes, we become stronger when men and women, young and old, gay and straight, native born and immigrant fight to rid this country of all forms of bigotry.”
Following Sanders’ speech, Clinton praised the senator extensively, borrowing the senator’s campaign slogan.
“Thank you for your lifetime of fighting injustice. I’m proud to be fighting beside you,” Clinton said.
“With your help, we are joining forces to defeat Donald Trump, win in November, and yes, building a future we can all believe in.”
In recent days, Clinton-aligned Democrats have made major concessions to Sanders.
Clinton released a revised higher-education funding plan last week that would make state university tuition free for millions of people from households making less than $125,000 annually. The Sanders campaign lauded the proposal.
In a statement on Tuesday, Trump’s campaign slammed Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton, characterizing the senator as an example of the “rigged system.”
“Today, Bernie Sanders will be endorsing one of the most pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and pro-offshoring candidates in the history of the Democratic Party. The candidate who ran against special interests is endorsing the candidate who embodies special interests,” Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said.