Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has told his supporters he will work with Hillary Clinton to transform the party, adding that his “political revolution” must continue and ensure the defeat of Donald Trump.
Mr Sanders told his political followers online that the major task they face is to “make certain” Mr Trump is defeated. The Vermont senator said he plans to begin his role in that process “in a very short period of time”.
“But defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become,” Mr Sanders said. “And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.”
Mr Sanders spoke from his Vermont home town of Burlington a week after Ms Clinton secured enough pledged delegates and superdelegates to become the presumptive nominee.
He has not yet conceded the race or referred to Ms Clinton as the likely nominee, but the two rivals met on Tuesday night in a Washington DC hotel along with advisers to discuss policy goals and future plans.
In the speech, Mr Sanders thanked his supporters for providing more than $200m in donations, and rattled off the work of his loyalists: 1.5 million people who attended his rallies and town meetings and more than 75 million phone calls from volunteers “urging their fellow citizens into action”.
Mr Sanders said that while it is “no secret” that he and Ms Clinton have “strong disagreements on some very important issues”, it is “also true that our views are quite close on others”.
He said he looked forward to additional talks between the two campaigns to ensure that his supporters’ voices are heard and the convention adopts “the most progressive platform” in the party’s history.
He looked forward to working with Ms Clinton “to transform the Democratic Party so that it becomes a party of working people and young people, and not just wealthy campaign contributors”.
The speech – which could be his final address before the summer convention – was viewed by more than 200,000 people, according to the campaign. It sought to shape his legacy as a one-time “fringe” candidate who generated a massive following through sprawling rallies and threatened Ms Clinton for the nomination.
Looking ahead to the convention, Mr Sanders said the party must support a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, pay equity for women, a ban on the sale and distribution of assault weapons and a defeat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
He encouraged his followers to consider running for political office up and down the country as a way to prevent Republicans from controlling state and local government.
“We have begun the long and arduous process of transforming America, a fight that will continue tomorrow, next week, next year and into the future,” he said.