“It’s not for me to tell him to drop out,” the all but certain Democratic presidential nominee said in an interview Tuesday on “The View.”
“It’s up to Bernie to do what he wants to do,” he added.
But organized labor is giving the former vice president a helping hand – with four of the biggest unions in the country all endorsing him in the past 10 days.
The National Education Association was first, on March 14. Then followed the United Food and Commercial Workers, the American Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees followed.
Biden’s sweeping victories last week in the Florida, Illinois and Arizona primaries cemented his status as the party’s likely nominee and all-but-destroyed Sanders’ slight chances of any comeback.
But the two-time White House hopeful doesn’t appear to be ready to call it quits.
Sanders’ campaign told The New York Times that if there’s a Democratic presidential primary debate in April, their candidate expects to participate.
“If there is a debate in April, he plans to be there,” the campaign confirmed to Fox News.
And earlier this week, the campaign spotlighted how it’s ramping up organizing efforts in New York ahead of that state’s primary – which for now is still scheduled to take place on April 28.
The senator’s campaign said last week that Sanders is “reassessing” his presidential bid. Sanders has stopped criticizing Biden and is no longer fundraising for his White House bid. But he’s remained very active – holding virtual campaign events to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and raise funds to benefit the response to the outbreak.
But the optics of the flurry of major union endorsements in recent days is another setback for Sanders, a longtime friend to organized labor whose progressive political revolution is all about helping workers.
United Food and Commercial Workers president March Perrone – in his statement backing Biden – emphasized that “at a time when UFCW members in healthcare, food retail, packing, and processing are on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, the vice president has again stood by our side by calling for paid leave and designating these brave workers as first responders.”
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten told Politico that “Bernie has a real decision to make.”
But the AFT told Fox News that Weingarten has not urged Sanders to drop out.
A senior organized labor official told Fox News that “in a perfect world, it would be time for Sanders to get out of the race, but with the uncertainly of the primary calendar and this summer’s national convention due to the coronavirus, it makes sense for Sanders to not close down his campaign.”
The official, who asked for anonymity to speak more freely, said that Sanders “has a chance to put out a message every day. He keeps his message and his clout by not suspending his campaign.”
The official added that there’s no building frustration from organized labor that’s directed at Sanders for staying in the race, but explained that “the frustration is on the attacks on Biden by some Sanders supporters. The last thing we need is the presumptive nominee being attacked by fellow Democrats.”
Fox News’ Andrew Craft, Madeleine Rivera, and Allie Raffa contributed to this story