Bernie Sanders has for the first time said he will vote for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and that he will work to defeat Donald Trump.
While the Vermont Senator has not officially suspended his campaign, in the strongest indication yet that he was ready to get behind Ms Clinton, he said he would be voting for her in November.
“Yes, I will, he said, when asked on MSNBC. “I think the issue right here is that I will do everything I can do stop Donald Trump.”
The Vermont senator had vowed to take his insurgent campaign all the way to next month’s party convention in Philadelphia and somehow work to take the nomination from her.
But amid a slow acceptance that Ms Clinton had secured the numbers she needs - and after repeated calls that he work to stop Mr Trump - Mr Sanders appears to have stepped away from this.
Speaking to supporters in New York on Thursday night, Mr Sanders said that he would be working to stop Mr Trump and would campaign for progressive candidates across the country who were running for election in the autumn.
“This political revolution is not about Bernie Sanders, it is about you and millions of other people,” he said. “What the political revolution means is that you are the revolutionaries. And that is what this campaign has shown.”
On Friday morning, the 74-year-old for the first time made clear that he would vote for his rival. “Yes, I will,” he said. “I think the issue right here is that I will do everything I can do stop Donald Trump.”
While stepping short of a full, formal endorsement, Mr Sanders said he was pretty good at arithmetic and that he understood she had more pledged delegates than he did.
“I will do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump,” he said. He added: “My job right now is to fight for the strongest possible platform in the Democratic election. That would include an agenda to create jobs and raise the minimum wage.”
Ms Clinton, whose primary campaign failed to connect with younger people or to create the sort of excitement or energy that Mr Sanders did, knows she needs the senators’ help to win in November. Some critics of Mr Sanders, who only registered as a Democrat last year, have accused him of putting his own ego ahead of the party’s interests. He had claimed Ms Clinton should not automatically expect that he would ask his supporters to vote for her.
But as Mr Trump secured the Republican nomination and worked to start attacking Ms Clinton ahead of November’s vote, Mr Sanders has said that he has been in touch the former secretary of state’s campaign on how they can work best together.
“We do not need a president whose cornerstone of his campaign is – is bigotry, is insulting Mexicans, and Latinos, and Muslims and women,” he said.
“Who does not believe in the reality of climate change when virtually every scientist who has studied this issue understands we have a global crisis. This is not somebody who should become president.”
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