Sen. Bernie Sanders defended Sen. Kamala Harris on Sunday, saying that despite Democratic Party infighting over policy proposals, a majority of progressives understand the importance of defeating President Donald Trump come November.
Sanders spoke highly of Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick, noting that she’s “incredibly smart [and] incredibly tough.”
“I think she’s an asset for the Biden campaign, and I think she’s going to do great on the campaign trail,” the Vermont independent said of the California senator on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.
But some progressives — particularly those who supported Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries — disagreed with the decision to pick Harris, some citing her prosecutorial past as an issue, saying it doesn’t meet the moment with Black Lives Matter protests in full swing.
Sanders‘ former national press secretary, Brianna Joy Gray, took to Twitter to call out the decision, stating: “The contempt for the base is, wow.“
When asked about the differing reactions within his own base, Sanders said, “The overwhelming majority of progressives understand that it is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated.”
“A lot of my supporters are not enthusiastic about Joe Biden. You know why? I ran against Joe Biden,” Sanders said.
“But I think there is overwhelming understanding that Donald Trump must be defeated, Biden must be elected. And that the day after he’s elected we’re going to do everything we can to create a government that works for all of us and not the 1 percent and wealthy campaign contributors.”
Sanders will speak Monday night in support of the Biden ticket at the Democratic National Convention.