Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter released Tuesday that she would not commit to endorse or support Sen. Bernie Sanders should he win the Democratic nomination later this year and stood by comments in a forthcoming Hulu documentary that "nobody likes" the Vermont senator.
Progressives were unimpressed with the remarks by Clinton, whose general election loss in 2016 delivered the White House to President Donald Trump.
"Hillary Clinton didn't run for the presidency to benefit anyone but herself," tweeted writer Natalie Shure, "so it makes sense she'd prioritize personal score-settling over siding with Bernie against Trump."
The former secretary of state's comments in the documentary reportedly target Sanders for harsh personal criticism.
"Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done," Clinton claims. "He was a career politician."
"It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it," she adds, apparently referring to the Sanders movement.
Bernie Sanders is the most popular senator in the US, according to recent polling from Morning Consult.
Hillary Clinton says "nobody likes him." https://t.co/lpPrvCvvwL
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) January 21, 2020
In the interview with THR published Tuesday, Clinton confirmed that assessment of her 2016 primary contest rival and said she was "not going to go there yet" on supporting Sanders should he be the nominee.
"This is inexcusable," said Pod Save America cohost Tommy Vietor. "If Bernie wins the nomination, we all need to work our asses off to help him win."
Outline correspondent Shuja Haider noted the gravity of Clinton's comments.
"Hillary Clinton declines to say she will endorse the 2020 Democratic nominee if it is not one of her preferred candidates," said Haider.
BREAKING: Hillary Clinton declines to say she will endorse the 2020 Democratic nominee if it is not one of her preferred candidates pic.twitter.com/uigoJGXzlE
— Shuja Haider (@shujaxhaider) January 21, 2020
Clinton—who some political observers believe narrowly lost to Trump in 2016 due in large part to a refusal down the stretch to go to Wisconsin, western Pennsylvania, and Michigan—trained her fire on Sanders despite the Vermont senator's tireless campaigning on her behalf leading up to the general election.
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That support netted Sanders a personal thank you letter from Clinton after her loss to Trump, though the former secretary of state's team have nonetheless falsely claimed in recent months that Sanders did next to nothing to help the 2016 campaign.
CNN political analyst Chris Cillizza argued Clinton's attack was actually "great news for" Sanders:
Sanders is running this 2020 presidential campaign (as he did the 2016 campaign) on a simple premise: the powerful have been sitting comfortably for way too long and it's time to shake things up. Sanders was vilifying the elites and the political establishment (of both parties) long before Donald Trump even started considering running for president.
This is who Sanders is; it's who he has always been. It's at the core of why people support him and why he has been able to build a movement around his back-to-back presidential candidacies.
Guess who, for lots and lots of Sanders supporters (and even other Democrats who don't support him) epitomizes that elite establishment? The Clintons!
While the Sanders campaign had yet to respond to Clinton's comments, Cillizza recommended Sanders should send her "a thank you note for the well-timed attack."
Jewish Currents news editor David Klion tweeted that the interview was another indication of the lasting legacy of Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton, the 43rd president.
"Start to finish, one of the most selfish, petty, nihilistic, counterproductive careers in American political history," said Klion. "Every time they open their mouths it makes things worse. History will not remember the Clintons fondly."
Sanders campaign officials urged supporters to channel their frustration with Clinton into sometthing positive.
"Don't get mad on the Internet," tweeted Bhavik Lathia, deputy national distributed organizaing director for the Sanders campaign. "Talk to real voters in key states."
When they go low, we make calls
Don’t get mad on the Internet. Talk to real voters in key states. https://t.co/d53aDMh8pC has everything you need to get started and help win this election!
— Bhavik Lathia (@bhaviklathia) January 21, 2020
Kelly Hayes, a journalist with TruthOut, warned Sanders supporters to expect more attacks as primary voters begin casting ballots and caucusing.
"We will see establishment figures continually emerge to try to take him out," said Hayes. "This is just the beginning."