Bernie Sanders backs Joe Biden as former Democratic rivals join forces to beat Donald Trump

Sen. Bernie Sanders, right, endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and urged every American US President Donald Trump a ‘one-term president.’ (AP file photo)
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Updated 14 April 2020

Bernie Sanders backs Joe Biden as former Democratic rivals join forces to beat Donald Trump

  • Backing comes less than a week after Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign
  • ‘We’ve got to make Trump a one-term president. I will do all that I can to make that happen’

WASHINGTON: Bernie Sanders has endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, encouraging his progressive supporters to rally behind the presumptive Democratic nominee in an urgent bid to defeat President Donald Trump.
“I am asking all Americans, I’m asking every Democrat, I’m asking every independent, I’m asking a lot of Republicans, to come together in this campaign to support your candidacy, which I endorse,” the Vermont senator said Monday in a virtual event with Biden.
The backing came less than a week after Sanders ended his presidential campaign, which was centered around progressive policies such as universal health care. There were early signs that some leading progressives weren’t ready to fully follow Sanders’ lead. And Trump’s campaign was eager to use the endorsement to tie Biden more closely to Sanders, whose identity as a democratic socialist is objectionable to Republicans and some Democrats.
Still, Sanders’ embrace of Biden was crucial for someone who is tasked with bridging the Democratic Party’s entrenched ideological divides. Democratic disunity helped contribute to Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump in 2016.
Perhaps eager to avoid a repeat of that bruising election year, Sanders offered his endorsement much earlier in the 2020 campaign. Sanders backed Clinton four years ago, but only after the end of a drawn-out nomination fight and a bitter dispute over the Democratic platform that extended to the summer convention.
Biden and Sanders differed throughout the primary, particularly over whether a government-run system should replace private health insurance. Biden has resisted Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan and has pushed instead a public option that would operate alongside private coverage.
Sanders said there’s “no great secret out there that you and I have our differences.”
But Sanders said the greater priority for Democrats of all political persuasions should be defeating Trump.
“We’ve got to make Trump a one-term president,” he said. “I will do all that I can to make that happen.”
The coronavirus prevented Biden and Sanders from appearing together in person. But they made clear they would continue working together, announcing the formation of six “task forces” made up of representatives from both campaigns to work on policy agreements addressing health care, the economy, education, criminal justice, climate change and immigration.
Biden, 77, has already made some overtures to progressives by embracing aspects of Sanders’ and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s policies. The day after Sanders exited the race, Biden came out in support of lowering the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60 while pledging to cancel student debt for many low- and middle-income borrowers. He’s also previously embraced Warren’s bankruptcy reform plan.
Sanders, 78, is sure to remain a force throughout the campaign. When he ended his candidacy, he said he would keep his name on the ballot in states that have not yet voted in order to collect more delegates that could be used to influence the party’s platform. He didn’t say Monday whether he would continue to fight for those delegates.
Still, Sanders and Biden emphasized their mutual respect for each other.
Sanders referred to the former vice president as “Joe.” Biden answered him repeatedly as “pal.” The two men asked the other to give regards to their wives, Jill Biden and Jane Sanders.
Biden told Sanders: “I really need you, not just to win the campaign but to govern.”


WHO warns ‘too early to ease up’ from COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe

Updated 52 min 57 sec ago

WHO warns ‘too early to ease up’ from COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe

  • ‘We need to be patient, it will take time to vaccinate’
  • ‘Pushing transmission down requires a sustained, consistent effort’

GENEVA: The World Health Organization’s European director Hans Kluge said on Thursday COVID-19 transmission rates in Europe remained too high, putting health services under severe strain, and therefore it was “too early to ease up.”
“We need to be patient, it will take time to vaccinate,” he told an online briefing. “We have learned harsh lessons — opening and closing, and reopening (societies) rapidly is a poor strategy” in seeking to curb coronavirus contagion, he said.
“Transmission rates across Europe are still very high, impacting health systems and straining services, making it too early to ease up,” Kluge said. “Pushing transmission down requires a sustained, consistent effort. Bear in mind that just over 3 percent of people in the region have had a confirmed COVID-19 infection. Areas hit badly once can be hit again.”
Kluge said a total of 35 countries in Europe had launched vaccination programs with 25 million does administered so far.
“These vaccines have shown the efficacy and safety we all hoped they would...This monumental undertaking will release pressure on our health systems and undoubtedly save lives.”
He said continued high rates of transmission and emerging variants of the virus made it urgent to vaccinate priority groups, but said the rate of vaccine production and distribution was not yet meeting expectations.
“This paradox, where communities sense an end is in sight with the vaccine but, at the same time, are called to adhere to restrictive measures in the face of a new threat, is causing tension, angst, fatigue, and confusion. This is completely understandable in these circumstances.”