Democrats’ attempts to put on a unified front on the first day of their convention in Philadelphia got off to a disastrous start Monday morning.
Primary runner-up Bernie Sanders was loudly booed when he spoke to his supporters after telling them they needed to vote for Hillary Clinton and her running mate Tim Kaine.
It was at least the second incidence of booing ahead of the convention — Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was booed earlier in the morning while speaking to Florida delegates.
Sanders, who finally endorsed Clinton over a month after the last primary, told a campaign-like gathering in Philadelphia that Democrats had to defeat GOP nominee Donald Trump — which drew cheers. But when he explained how to do that by voting for Clinton, the mood quickly turned.
“Brothers and sisters, this is the real world that we live in,” Sanders tried to say over the noise.”Trump is a bully and a demagogue. Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign.”
“Trump does not respect the Constitution of the United States or civil liberties. That is not just my opinion. That is what many conservative Republicans believe,” Sanders said, drawing some applause. Trump is a danger for the future of our country and must be defeated,” Sanders declared, as some applauded. “And I intend to do everything that I can to see that he is defeated.”
But many in the raucous crowd didn’t seem to care about getting behind their party’s presumptive nominee, even if the leader of their “revolution” was officially on board with Clinton.
The mood of the Sanders supporters was soured by the recent leak of embarrassing e-mails from the Democratic National Committee that led Wasserman Schultz to announce she will step down after this week’s convention. After saying Sunday she would still open and close the event, she’s now not gaveling in Monday afternoon at the convention at all.
Sanders supporters cheered when he brought up her resignation, telling them her exit “opens up the possibility of new leadership at the top of the Democratic Party that will stand with working people.”
While they fell short electorally — trailing Clinton in both the popular vote and in pledged delegates — Sanders ticked off their successes and the way in which they had influenced the Democratic Party platform, including supporting a $15 minimum wage and to stop trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.