Des Moines (US): Hillary Clinton is not done talking about Bernie Sanders. The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said in a podcast interview aired Friday that Sanders did not try to unify the party after losing the primary to her four years ago, and that he and his supporters contributed to her loss to Donald Trump in the general election.
Asked by Emily Tisch Sussman of the podcast 'Your Primary Playlist' on what Sanders could do this time to unite the party against Trump, Clinton replied -- "Well, he can do it, for one. That's not our experience from 2016".
Clinton's comments come just days before the 2020 Iowa Democratic Caucus scheduled for February 3. It is the first nominating contest in the Democratic Party presidential primaries for the 2020 presidential election. Sanders is bunched at the top of the polls with former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend (Indiana) Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The remarks are yet another reminder of the lasting scars of the the brutal 2016 primary battle between Sanders, whose supporters believe the contest was rigged in Clinton's favour. Clinton, on the other hand, has begrudged Sanders for not supporting her candidacy quickly enough after she clinched the nomination.
In Friday's podcast, Clinton contrasted the conversations she had with Barack Obama in 2008 about unifying the party after he became the nominee, with the conversations she had with Sanders in 2016 after it became clear she would come out on top. "They were like night and day," she said.
"Sanders' campaign and his principal supporters were just very difficult and were not just constantly attacking me but also my supporters," she said. She added that at the Democratic National Convention, Sanders' supporters were booing Michelle Obama, John Lewis.
"It was very distressing and such a contrast between what we did to unite in '08. All the way up until the end, a lot of people highly identified with (Sanders') campaign, were urging people to vote third party," she said.
Just last week, Clinton raised doubts about whether she would endorse Sanders if he wins the 2020 Democratic nomination to face Trump. Clinton told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview that "I'm not going to go there yet". However, she later took to Twitter to say her priority was to defeat Trump and would do whatever she could to support the party's nominee.
Sanders had refused to comment on Clinton's critical remarks, saying only in a statement, "Together, we are going to go forward and defeat the most dangerous president in American history."