The divide in the Democrat Party was laid bare when Bernie Sanders was booed by his own supporters as he urged them to back Hillary Clinton.
Sanders, the veteran Vermont Senator whose rivalry with Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination electrified the campaign, was faced with jeers on the first day of the Democrat National Convention in Philadelphia amid suggestions the party’s top brass rigged the system against him.
Taking the stage to speak to his 1,800 delegates, Sanders, who has already lent his support to Clinton, began:
“We have got to defeat Donald Trump and we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.”
The first wave of booing began.
Sanders, whose left-wing, anti-austerity policies have been compared to those backed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, raised his hand to urge calm, and went on:
“Brothers and sisters, this is the real world we live in. Trump is a bully, and a demagogue. Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign.”
To strains of ‘We love Bernie’, he added Trump is a “danger to our country” and “must be defeated”.
By contrast, there was a huge cheer in the room when Sanders referred to the Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stepping down over leaked emails suggesting a bias against his presidential campaign.
Many Sanders supporters have suggested they would rather back Trump than Clinton.