Bernie Sanders finally offered his endorsement of Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, officially ending a bitter presidential primary in order to unite the Democratic party against Donald Trump. The Vermont senator’s endorsement comes more than a month after Clinton secured enough delegate support to effectively clinch the nomination, with or without Sanders dropping out of the race.
“Secretary Clinton has won the Democratic nominating process,” Sanders said at a rally with Clinton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “And I congratulate her for that. She will be the Democratic nominee for president and I intend to do everything I can to make certain that she will be the next president of the United States.”
“I have come here today not to talk about the past, but to focus on the future,” he continued. “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.”
In recent weeks, Sanders has said he would commit to doing everything in his in power to prevent Trump from winning the general election, but he repeatedly stopped short of officially endorsing Clinton. His refusal to quickly back Clinton and pivot the party to November was widely seen as a bargaining chip to influence the Democratic Party platform with his signature policy items, such as free tuition for in-state colleges and expanded health care reform.
The endorsement comes as Clinton continues working to bring Democrats together to defeat Trump, who used the same “rigged system” grievances that Sanders often employed against the Democratic nominating system to try to woo disaffected supporters from supporting Clinton.
“Throughout this campaign, Senator Sanders has brought people off the sidelines and into the political process,” Clinton said on Tuesday. “Thank you, Bernie, for your endorsement, but for more than that. Thank you for your lifetime of fighting injustice. I am proud to be fighting alongside you.”