Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has officially endorsed presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
On July 12, Sanders joined Clinton at a campaign event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Standing side by side, the two former rivals called for unity within the Democratic party, CNN reports.
Sanders had been effectively eliminated from attaining the Democratic nomination following the California primary in early June. He chose to remain in the race, vowing to continue campaigning until the Democratic National Convention.
On stage, Sanders stated that the former secretary of state had indeed won the party nomination and congratulated her.
“I have come here to make it as clear as possible why I am endorsing Hillary Clinton and why she must become our next president,” Sanders told the crowd, eliciting cheers.
“Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty,” Sanders said. “She believes -- we all believe -- that we must raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And further, she wants to create billions of new [jobs] by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.”
The Vermont senator then turned his attention against the presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, contrasting him as a potential president that Democrats must vote to prevent.
“If anyone out there thinks that this election is not important, take a moment to think of 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.
The Vermont senator’s endorsement arrives just after the completion of the Democratic Party platform, which he had largely influenced. From July 8-9, Clinton and Sanders delegates hashed out progressive policy goals for the party in Orlando, Florida, NBC News reports.
While the document has yet to be ratified, it contains clear wins for Sanders’ policy goals, such as a call for a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, the abolishment of the death penalty, Social Security expansion and a pathway to marijuana legalization.
Clinton took to the podium following Sanders endorsement, quipping, “I can’t help but say how much more enjoyable this election is going to be when we are on the same side.”
While Sanders’ endorsement of Clinton will likely help further cement unity in the Democratic Party, many of the his supporters may remain unconvinced.
In the days preceding Sanders’ endorsement, members of the Bernie-or-Bust movement speculated that he would still attain the Democratic nomination and refused to believe that the joint campaign rally in New Hampshire would lead to a unification.
“Maybe [Clinton] will concede the nomination on the grounds her controversies are to distracting from the real issues America faces,” Sanders supporter Jerry Jarvis from Illinois told The Daily Beast. Jarvis added “I still don’t want to believe America is really heading down a dark path.”
Nelia Seyler from Ohio, another staunch Sanders supporter, wrote just a day before the endorsement “Bernie will never indorse Hillary.”
Shortly after Sanders and Clinton vowed to unite together to topple Trump, the GOP nominee took to Twitter to suggest that the Vermont senator was a sellout.
“I am somewhat surprised that Bernie Sanders was not true to himself and his supporters,” Trump tweeted. “They are not happy that he is selling out!”
Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein, who has been attempting to court Sanders supporters, tweeted out “Many Berning hearts are breaking right now.”