Obama Meets With Bernie Sanders to Push for Democratic Unity
Sen. Bernie Sanders arrived at the White House this morning for a private Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama, two days after Obama effectively declared Sanders’ opponent, Hillary Clinton, the winner of the Democratic primary contest.
Hardly two hours after the president released his Tuesday evening statement, Sanders took to a stage in California to inform supporters of his plans to stay in the race until the party’s convention in Philadelphia in July.
In perhaps a preview of their meeting today, Obama told attendees at a fundraiser in New York on Wednesday night, “We just ended or sort of ended our primary season” — raising the question whether he will be able to convince Sanders of the same.
Other top Democratic supporters of Sanders have similarly told ABC News of their readiness to rally behind Clinton.
But the White House maintains Obama will not call on Sanders to drop out of the race and still has not made his official endorsement of Clinton, which White House officials say is imminent.
“At this point, the president believes that Sen. Sanders has more than earned the right to make his own decision about the course of his campaign,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.
Regardless, the conversation is expected to center on shaping a new role for Sanders and his policy proposals in a party establishment roiled by the proclaimed Democratic socialist’s calls for a political revolution.
Sanders has been outspoken on his issues of disagreement with Clinton, saying he will stand firm on his push for the party to adopt a $15 per hour minimum wage and paid family and medical leave as platform positions.
After his meeting with Obama, Sanders will take a short trip to Capitol Hill to meet with other top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.