Bernie Sanders Says Progressives Understand Donald Trump 'Must Be Defeated'

In an interview with ABC News broadcast on Sunday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders discussed the 2020 presidential election.

Speaking with This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos, Sanders acknowledged that progressives are not enthusiastic about Joe Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee, but noted that they realize how important it is to defeat President Donald Trump.

"A lot of my supporters are not enthusiastic about Joe Biden. You know why? I ran against Joe Biden," Sanders began.

"But I think there's an overwhelming understanding that Donald Trump must be defeated, Biden must be elected, and that the day after he is elected, we're going to do everything we can to create a government that works for all of us."
Left-leaning lawmakers have not exactly embraced the presidential nominee.

Reps. Ro Khanna of California and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan -- both of whom supported Sanders in the primaries -- have vowed to vote against the Democratic Party platform, pointing out that Biden and his allies have refused to adopt key progressive policies.

Sanders argued that even those disappointed in the party's decisions need to understand that they will have a chance to fight for policies such as single payer health care once Trump is defeated.

The Vermont senator also argued that progressives have made tremendous progress this election cycle, managing to defeat incumbent Democrats. He pointed to Jamaal Bowman's victory over longtime Rep. Eliot Engel in New York and Cori Bush's triumph over Missouri Rep. William Lacy Clay.

Stephanopoulos challenged his guest, noting that progressives have criticized the Democratic nominee for choosing California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.

Stephanopoulos also noted that Harris appeared to endorse Sanders' signature policy proposal, Medicare for All, during the primaries, asking the senator whether he believes Harris will be an "ally" of left-leaning Democrats

Sanders dodged the question, praising Harris as "incredibly smart, incredibly tough."

"And I would not like to be Vice President Pence in a debate with her. I think she's an asset for the Biden campaign and I think she's going to do great on the campaign trail," Sanders said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden listens as his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during a virtual fundraising event at the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware.
Getty Images | Drew Angerer

Progressive voters may not be enthusiastic about Biden, but polling suggests that most of them will vote for him in November.

As The New York Times reported, research shows that the vast majority of those who backed Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the primaries plan on voting for Biden over Trump.

In the upcoming election, Biden will receive help from America's Progressive Promise PAC, a group founded by top aides to Sanders' 2020 campaign.