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Sanders says he has ‘stayed away from’ Biden’s VP search

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Monday that he is staying out of former Vice President Joe Biden’s search for a running mate but that he’ll continue to press the presumptive Democratic nominee to fill his Cabinet with progressives.

Speaking at a Washington Post Live event, Sanders was asked if he’d provided input to the Biden campaign as it conducts a search for a woman to be his vice presidential candidate.

“That’s an issue I’ve kind of stayed away from,” Sanders said.

“It’s a decision he’s going to have to make, someone you trust. Picking a running mate is a very personal decision, it’s not just an ideological decision, it’s a personal decision and he is who he is and he’ll have to make a decision picking somebody he’s comfortable with.”

Biden is reportedly considering several top Democratic women to be his running mate, including Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), as well as Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) and former Georgia state House member Stacey Abrams.

Warren is the favored candidate for vice president among the progressive left. She and Sanders have long been close ideological allies in the Senate, but they clashed bitterly at times over the course of the Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders on Monday declined to endorse anyone to be Biden’s running mate.

“Elizabeth is an outstanding U.S. senator and I think she’d be a great choice, if that’s someone Biden feels comfortable with,” he said.

“It’s a very personal decision, not quite like getting married, but it’s someone you have to feel comfortable with and a lot of that is personal chemistry,” Sanders said.

Sanders on Monday said that he’d do everything in his power to ensure that Biden defeats President Trump in November.

However, he acknowledged that he and Biden still have “strong political disagreements” and said he’d continue to push the former vice president on both the policy front and to ensure that progressives are represented in his administration.

The Vermont senator said he hopes Biden will look to the Congressional Progressive Caucus to choose who will lead his Treasury Department and Department of Health and Human Services if he wins in November.

“I hope very much that Joe will take a hard look at some of the leading progressives in this country … what you need to bring into the Cabinet is not only people who have the progressive ideology, but people who have the experience of interacting with working-class people, who understand that now is the time to tell the billionaire class and 1 percent that this economy is going to change,” Sanders said.

In addition, Sanders said he’d continue to push Biden on key issues, such as health care, where the left is pushing for a single-payer option often expressed as “Medicare for All.” Biden says he’s committed to expanding ObamaCare.

“Absolutely, look, no question, look, I’m supporting Joe Biden, but Joe and I have very serious disagreements on policy,” Sanders said.

“I strongly support Joe, but it’s just hard for me to imagine how anybody could defend the current structure of our health care system,” he added.

Still, Sanders said that his supporters should not be skeptical of Biden’s commitment to progressive ideals, saying that the left has put into the mainstream many issues that were once dismissed by centrist Democrats.

“You’ve got someone like a Joe Biden, right now, who does not hold all my views — Joe believes in $15 minimum wage now,” Sanders said. “Joe believes in creating millions of jobs rebuilding the infrastructure. Joe believes in making it much easier for workers to join unions. I think you’re going to see him coming out very strongly on some progressive ideas on climate change. So we’ve come a long way, and it’ something we should be very proud of.”

Sanders, who mounted vigorous challenges to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020 but fell short both times, was asked if he would ever consider running for president again.

“I think the likelihood is very, very slim at that,” he said. “I think next time around you’ll see another progressive carrying the banner … I think it’s very, very unlikely that I’ll ever be running for president again.

Tags Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Val Demings

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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