Bernie Sanders says he isn’t interested in discussing Hillary Clinton blaming him for her election loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
“My response is that right now it’s appropriate to look forward and not backward,” the Vermont independent senator said in an interview published by The Hill newspaper on Wednesday. “Our job is to go forward.”
Sanders comments came a day after excerpts were published from Clinton’s upcoming campaign memoir, “What Happened.” In the book, Clinton claims that the “attacks” Sanders leveled at her during the 2016 Democratic primary “caused lasting damage,” made it harder to “unify progressives” and paved the way for Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” refrain during the general election.
“I don’t know if that bothered Bernie or not,” Clinton writes. “He certainly shared my horror at the thought of Donald Trump becoming President, and I appreciated that he campaigned for me in the general election. But he isn’t a Democrat.”
Sanders lost his bid for the Democratic nomination and endorsed Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.
“He didn’t get into the race to make sure a Democrat won the White House,” Clinton continues. “He got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) September 4, 2017
And while Sanders “was right Democrats needed to strengthen [their] focus on working families” and engage younger voters, “he was fundamentally wrong about the Democratic Party,” Clinton argues, ticking off a list of Democrat-led accomplishments including Social Security, Middle East peace, the auto industry bailout and health care reform.
“I am proud to be a Democrat,” Clinton adds. “And I wish Bernie were, too.”
Sanders told The Hill that he’s focused on protecting progressive interests from Trump’s legislative agenda.
“I’m working overtime now to see we overturn Trump’s decision on DACA, pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage and next week I’ll be offering a Medicare-for-all single-payer system,” he said.
In her book, Clinton also criticized Sanders for effectively stealing her ideas.
“We would propose a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger,” she writes.
The Vermont senator declined to respond to that specific claim.
“I’ll let the people decide,” he said.