Supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will ultimately unite behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to defeat Republican nominee Donald J. Trump, said U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia.
“I think in the end the Sanders people with all of us, we will be together. We’re not going to leave here divided. We will be together as one party,” Lewis said Monday after speaking at the Ohio delegation’s breakfast at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Some Sanders supporters denounced Clinton at protests Sunday and today in Philadelphia. Sanders, an independent from Vermont who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination and endorsed Clinton, will speak at the convention tonight, along with liberal favorite U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts.
Lewis said it is critical that Democrats unite and vote to defeat Trump and that Sanders will help bring his supporters to Clinton.
“Sen. Sanders will be addressing the convention and I’m sure he’s going give a great speech,” Lewis said. “And he’s going to talk about unity and that’s what we need at this moment.”
Lewis is a civil rights icon who is no stranger to protesting. In June he led the sit-in on the House floor over Republicans failure to consider stronger gun restrictions after the massacre at a club in Orlando.s
He said he never imagined “that one day I would be sitting in on the floor of the House of Representatives.”
“But sometimes things get so bad we don’t have a choice but to find a way to dramatize the issue, to educate and inspire people. More than 85 to 90 percent of the American people are with us,” Lewis said.
Lewis told Ohio delegates that their breakfast was his first convention speech, even before speaking to his own Georgia delegation.
“It is Ohio. It is Ohio. It is Ohio,” he said.
Lewis called voting the “most powerful non-violent tool” for change in a democracy.
“Some people gave a little blood, some people died for the right to vote,” Lewis said.
He said after 50 years of progress some Republicans want to take the country backwards and “I don’t want to go back.”
Lewis said Americans owe it to their children and grandchildren to not elect Trump.
“If the other party wins, I’m thinking about moving someplace, maybe to some island,” he joked.
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