'Trump is a danger for the future of our country and must be defeated,' Sanders told a rally of supporters. In photo: Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally on March 14, 2016 in Charlotte, United States. Photograph:( Getty )
Bernie Sanders urged reluctant supporters yesterday to vote for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in order to bar Donald Trump's path to the White House, slamming the Republican as a "demagogue".
"We have got to defeat Donald Trump. We have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine," the Vermont senator told a rally held hours before the opening of the Democratic National Convention.
"Trump is a bully and a demagogue," said Sanders whose call to support party nominee Clinton in November was met with loud jeers and cries of "We want Bernie!" from the fired-up crowd.
The four-day confab in Philadelphia got off to a rocky start following a major internal row over leaked emails that showed party leaders sought to undermine Sanders in the party primaries. Many of the die-hard Sanders supporters who descended on Philadelphia loathe the party flag bearer Clinton so much they are unwilling to back her, even if the cost is a Trump presidency.
Sanders has officially endorsed his rival and has been offered a prime speaking slot later Monday at the convention, during which he will stress that the party mission is to prevent Trump from becoming the 45th president of the United States.
He hammered home that message to his supporters.
"Brothers and sisters - brothers and sisters, this is the real world that we live in," Sanders said. "Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign. Throughout this campaign he has insulted Mexicans and Latinos. He has insulted Muslims and insulted women and African Americans. It is not just my opinion. That is what many conservative Republicans believe. Trump is a danger for the future of our country and must be defeated. And I intend to do everything to see that he is defeated."