In his first televised interviews since Friday's release of internal DNC emails by Wikileaks and Hillary Clinton's choice of Sen. Tim Kaine as running mate, Bernie Sanders responded Sunday morning by saying he was troubled, though not at all surprised, by what the leaks reveal and refused to call Kaine "progressive" while explaining he would have much preferred someone like Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the ticket.
Regarding the leaked emails—which many believe show proof of how the Democratic National Committee was putting its "thumb on the scale" for the Clinton campaign—Sanders told Chuck Todd of Meet The Press, "This really does not come as a shock to me or my supporters."
He made similar comments on ABC's "This Week" with George Stephanapoulos. "I'm not shocked," Sanders said, "but I am disappointed."
"It's what we talked about six months ago," Sanders said on CNN's "State of the Union" with Jake Tapper. "There's no question in my mind, and no question in any objective observer's mind, that the DNC was supporting Hillary Clinton and was in opposition to our campaign."
That he knew this early on, Sanders continued, is why he called for DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to step down from her leadership role in the party. His reasoning for continuing that call now, he said, is not just because of the "prejudice" that DNC operatives showed throughout the campaign, but "because I think we need new leadership of the Democratic Party that is going to open up that party to working people and to young people—to have that kind of vitality we need to not only win the presidency, but also gain control of the Senate and the House as well."
Regarding Clinton's choice for vice president, Sanders explained that though he knows Kaine as "a very smart guy and a very nice guy" from their work together in the Senate, his "political views are not my political views." Noting that many of Sanders' supporters spent the weekend expressing disappointment with Clinton's choice, NBC's Chuck Todd specifically ask Sanders if he considered Kaine "progressive" or not.
"He is more conservative that I am," Sanders responded. "Would I have preferred to see someone like [Senator from Massachusetts] Elizabeth Warren selected by Secretary Clinton? Yes I would have."
With widespread concern that Sanders supporters will not throw their weight behind the Clinton candidacy, Sanders made clear during Sunday's round of interviews that despite his quarrels and criticisms with the DNC, his primary focus at this point is defeating the Repulican presidential nominee Donald Trump. "I think by temperament he is unqualified to be president," Sanders said. "You have a guy running for president who rejects science—doesn't even believe climat change is real, let alone wants to do something about it."
Courtesy of the DNC's YouTube channel, you can watch the whole MTP interview with Sanders below: