Sanders told CNN in a new interview that the Biden campaign team made him feel "very welcome," while the Clinton camp merely "tolerated" him

By Virginia Chamlee
June 14, 2021 04:15 PM
Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton
From left: Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton
| Credit: Scott Eisen/Getty; Alex Wong/Getty; Drew Angerer/Getty

Though he faced them both in hard fought presidential primaries and served with them in the Senate, Bernie Sanders is painting a stark contrast between Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.

He told CNN in a new interview that the Biden campaign team made him feel "very welcome," while the Clinton camp merely "tolerated" him.

After Biden opted not to launch his own run for president in 2016, the former vice president reached out to Sanders to offer some insight during the latter's initial campaign, Sanders told Gloria Borger.

"He was giving me his advice - political advice - and they were, I think for me, very useful conversations, and friendly conversations," Sanders said of Biden. (As they ended one such chat back in 2015, Biden reportedly told him: "Good luck, buddy!")

The next campaign cycle, as Sanders was ceding the Democratic primary to Biden, he had advice of his own. As both Biden and Sanders aides explained to the CNN, the Vermont senator offered to help Biden with some "progressive ideas."

Though he is more moderate, Biden welcomed the idea, Sanders said, making him feel welcome in the process. "Very welcome," Sanders told CNN.

He offered an aside that his relationship with Biden, with whom he is personally friendly, was much different than that of his other leading rival for the Democratic presidential nomination: former Secretary of State Clinton, who defeated him in 2016.

Asked if he was welcomed by the Clinton team, Sanders said: "I was tolerated."

He continued: "My support was- they wanted my support, obviously."

Bernie Sanders
Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sanders, one of the Senate's most progressive members, has long styled himself as a political outsider. But he received an unexpected groundswell of national support during his 2016 campaign and became the country's most famous liberal politician in the process.

After championing left-wing priorities such as government-backed healthcare, he ultimately ended his own campaign for president in April 2020. Now in his 15th year in the Senate, Sanders, 79, currently serves as chair of the Senate Committee on the Budget.

Last August, after battling Biden for the Democratic nomination, Sanders pledged his support at their party's virtual convention, calling on progressives to join him.

He and Clinton have enjoyed no such collegiality, in large part thanks to their bitter primary fight.

In a Hulu documentary last year, Clinton said, "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."

In response, Sanders told reporters, "Secretary Clinton is entitled to her point of view," but he added: "On a good day, my wife likes me, so let's clear the air on that one."