In a not-so-thinly veiled jab at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday he “would not use the word ‘enemies’ to describe fellow Americans” — not even Republicans.
“As the most progressive member of the United States Senate, I obviously have strong disagreements with the Republicans on every issue,” Sanders told reporters during a press conference Wednesday, shortly after arriving at New York City’s Penn Station. Later in the day, he’ll appear in his native New York City as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show.
“There is no issue that we don’t have fundamental disagreements,” Sanders continued. “But I would not use the word ‘enemies’ to describe fellow Americans.”
The comment was an apparent swipe at Clinton — the second in approximately two hours — for declaring at last week’s presidential debate that she was proud to count Republicans among her enemies. In addition to Sanders’ jab, Vice President Joe Biden expressed similar disapproval during his announcement that he would not enter the 2016 race, though he too did not address Clinton by name.
“I don’t believe like some do that it’s naive to talk to Republicans,” Biden said from the White House Rose Garden Wednesday. “I don’t think we should look at Republicans as our enemies. They are our opposition. They are not our enemies, and for the sake of the country, we have to work together.”
Both Sanders and Clinton showered Biden with praise following his announcement Wednesday. In a tweet, Clinton called the vice president “a good friend and a great man,” adding that she was “inspired by his optimism and commitment to change the world for the better.” Clinton, who is leading Sanders in the latest polls, stands to see a bump now that Biden has officially excused himself.
Sanders, meanwhile, spent the bulk of his brief press conference Wednesday talking about how much he’s looking forward to working with the vice president for the duration of his term.
“I want to thank Joe Biden and President Obama for the work that they have done over the last seven years in making very significant improvements to our economy,” Sanders said. “Obviously we have a long way to go. But because of Joe Biden, because of President Obama, we have seen significant progress.”