Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential campaign, he announced Wednesday, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the apparent Democratic presidential nominee.
"I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today I am announcing the suspension of my campaign," Sanders told supporters in a livestream, saying he wished he could provide supporters with "better news" but "I think you know the truth."
"We are now some 300 delegates behind Vice President Biden and the path to victory is virtually impossible," he said. Sanders, I-Vt., called Biden "a very decent man who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward."
Calling the decision "difficult and painful," Sanders said he had to make an "honest assessment of the prospects for victory."
He added that he understands some supporters want him to fight on through the convention, but he could not "in good conscience continue to mount a campaign that cannot win and would interfere with the important work required of all of us in this difficult hour" as the COVID-19 outbreak grips the nation.
He pledged to have significant influence over the party platform this summer, as he did during the 2016 convention. He pointed to policies like a $15 minimum wage, which has been picked up in some states and cities since he first began campaigning for it at the presidential level five years ago, as evidence that his progressive platform is winning.
Sanders praised Biden as a decent man Wednesday night in an interview with "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert Wednesday, but when asked if that amounted to a full endorsement, Sanders stopped short. "We're going to be talking to Joe, and we are. And we're talking to his team of advisers," Sanders said.
"What I said from the first day that I announced my intention to run for president: I will do everything that I can to make sure that Donald Trump is not re-elected," he said.
In a conference call with staffers earlier Wednesday, Sanders thanked his team for its "extraordinary work."
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