Four years after she battled with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to capture the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton had some harsh words for her one-time rival — and refused to commit to backing him as the party’s nominee in 2020.
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“He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him,” she said in an upcoming four-part documentary that will premiere on Hulu at the beginning of March. “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It’s all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it.”
Clinton and Sanders were engaged in a surprisingly drawn-out and bitter clash during the 2016 Democratic primary. Though he frequently portrayed her as a proponent of billionaires and Wall Street, Sanders, after 14 months of terse back-and-forths, eventually endorsed Clinton for president in July 2016.
But Clinton would not commit to doing the same for Sanders in 2020. Asked by The Hollywood Reporter whether she would endorse and campaign for Sanders if he wins the nomination, she said: “I’m not going there yet. We’re still in a very vigorous primary season.”
In a statement, Sanders did not directly address Clinton's comments, changing the subject to President Trump's impeachment trial, which resumed in the Senate on Tuesday.
“My focus today is on a monumental moment in American history: the impeachment trial of Donald Trump," he said. "Together, we are going to go forward and defeat the most dangerous president in American history.”
According to an aggregate of polls by RealClearPolitics, Sanders is in second place nationally. He’s also a top candidate in the early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, which he won in 2016.
Clinton's comments come just one week after a dispute erupted between Sanders and fellow progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren over the question of whether a woman can become president. (Warren insists that Sanders told her at a private meeting a little over a year ago that a woman could not beat President Trump; Sanders vehemently denies doing so).
But Clinton sided with Warren, seemingly suggesting that Sanders had a pattern of sexist remarks.
“I think that both the press and the public have to really hold everybody running accountable for what they say and what their campaign says and does,” she said. “That's particularly true with what's going on right now with the Bernie campaign having gone after Elizabeth with a very personal attack on her. Then this argument about whether or not or when he did or didn't say that a woman couldn't be elected, it's part of a pattern. If it were a one-off, you might say, "OK, fine." But he said I was unqualified. I had a lot more experience than he did, and got a lot more done than he had, but that was his attack on me.”