Bernie Sanders didn't call his campaign quits after meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday, saying he would be competing in the Washington, DC, primary next week.
But Sanders gave every indication that he'll look to unite the Democratic Party in the near future, stressing the importance of defeating Donald Trump and his intention to work with Hillary Clinton. Clinton's strong performance in several states in Tuesday's primaries erased essentially any path to the nomination for Sanders.
"I look forward to meeting with [Clinton] in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump," Sanders said, adding that he had congratulated Clinton on her "very strong campaign" after voting on Tuesday.
"What they said in the beginning is that they would not put their thumb on the scales, and they kept their word," Sanders said. "I appreciate that very, very much."
Perhaps most important is what Sanders did not say at the news conference: that he'll be lobbying the superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters and grant him the nomination. In his brief remarks, Sanders also didn't criticize Clinton or try to point out her flaws as a potential nominee, as he has on the stump recently. And when he spoke about the Democratic convention, he spoke about it in terms of "issues," not an attempt to win the nomination.
True to form, Sanders argued that Washington, DC, should be granted statehood and representatives in the US Senate (a position Clinton shares). And he promised to push for the issues he says have powered his candidacy from the start.
"We will continue doing everything we can to oppose the drift which currently exists toward an oligarchic form of society, where a handful of billionaires exercise enormous power over our economic, political, and media life," Sanders said. "This is the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, and we should not have millions of senior citizens and disabled veterans struggling to put food on the table."