(Gray News) - Yes, he’s running.
In a Tuesday morning interview on Vermont Public Radio, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he’s running for president.
“I wanted to let the people of the state of Vermont know about this first,” Sanders told VPR. “And what I promise to do is, as I go around the country, is to take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of: a belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics, in town meetings. That’s what I’m going to carry all over this country.”
Sanders said his campaign isn’t just about getting President Donald Trump out of the White House.
“Our campaign is not only about defeating Donald Trump,” the 77-year-old said in an email to supporters. “Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice.”
But he didn’t pull any punches when it came to Trump.
“I think the current occupant of the White House is an embarrassment to our country. I think he is a pathological liar,” Sanders said in the Vermont Public Radio interview. “I also think he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, somebody who is gaining cheap political points by trying to pick on minorities, often undocumented immigrants.”
Sanders tweeted a campaign hype video on Twitter, touting his recent accomplishment, including his work trying to end the U.S. involvement in the Yemen civil war.
He has polled well in a pool of possible candidates, behind only former vice president Joe Biden, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll in December 2018.
The outspoken Sanders self-identifies as a Democratic Socialist and has made a lasting impact on national politics, with some of the issues he’s campaigned on being adopted by more mainstream Democrats - including Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage.
Sanders may have succeeded in pushing the Democratic party left. In a Sept. 7, 2018 speech by former President Barack Obama, he said Democrats are “running on good new ideas like Medicare for all" in the 2018 midterms. The idea isn’t new. It was a Sanders rallying cry in 2016 when he was vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Though unsuccessful in his bid, he continued to throw his support toward left-leaning candidates in the 2018 midterms.
As he contemplates a 2020 presidential bid, he is being haunted by allegations that some of his 2016 campaign aides committed sexual harassment.
He said in way of apology in January: “I am not going to sit here and tell you that we did everything right in terms of human resources, in terms of addressing the needs that I’m hearing from now that women felt disrespected, that there was sexual harassment which was not dealt with as effectively as possible. So I certainly apologize to any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately and of course, if I run, we will do better next time.”
As a longtime independent senator, Sanders caucuses with Democrats and is counted as a Democrat for committee assignments.
Sanders serves on several congressional committees, including the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; and the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Sanders has served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and a ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.
He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2016, with Hillary Clinton officially winning the party’s nomination after the Puerto Rico primary June 5. The next day, President Barack Obama endorsed the former New York senator and first lady.
Clinton cemented her place as the party’s presumed nominee with wins in New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota in the June 7 primaries.
Supporters of Sanders encouraged others to “Feel the Bern.” Some toxic supporters are known derisively as Bernie Bros because they tend to be white and males, and some are accused of being misogynists and sowing discord among Democrats.
During his campaign, his message of Democratic socialism, redistribution of wealth and further regulation of Wall Street and the banking industry appealed to people. Sanders outlasted other Democratic candidates, such as Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, Lawrence Lessig and Martin O’Malley.
His populist message spread through social media and his campaign rallies. Sanders packed large auditoriums with supporters, giving Clinton a run for her money in the delegate count. He even bested the former secretary of state by winning the Michigan primary.
“Saturday Night Live” took notice of his candidacy and enlisted Larry David to parody the Vermont senator. David ended up being a distant cousin of Sanders, they discovered from genetic testing done in a 2017 episode of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots.”
Sanders was elected to the Senate in 2006 as an independent and re-elected in 2012 and 2018. Prior to that, he was Vermont’s at-large congressman from 1991 to 2007.
Sanders was born in Brooklyn, NY, and moved to Vermont after he graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. In 1981, he was elected mayor of Burlington, VT, where he served until 1989.