Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says despite resignations by a number of staff members of the newly-formed political organization Our Revolution, he’s confident the group will advance his agenda.
Our Revolution will support like-minded candidates and work on issues that Sanders championed during his campaign. But on the eve of its rollout this week, there were published reports that staff members have resigned over concerns about the direction of the group.
Among those concerns is its status as a 501(c)(4) organization, which means it could accept large donations without reporting the donors.
Sanders told VPR in a phone interview Wednesday that no decisions have yet been made about what size donations will be accepted, but he favors relying on small donors.
“In our campaign, what we were very, very proud of is that we broke all kinds of records in terms of the number of small individual campaign contributions that we received,” Sanders said. “And that is the way I believe we should do it. That will be a decision for the board.”
Sanders says he believes the group should also make public who its donors are.
Sanders touched on other topics during his interview with Vermont Edition, including Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and the book he is working on. Excerpts from Sanders' responses on a few additional topics are below, and the full interview audio from the program can be heard at the top.
On the upcoming presidential election:
"Nationally, I think the overwhelming majority of people who voted for me will be voting for Secretary Clinton. Certainly not all, but I think the vast majority will. And I think the answer is pretty clear. In my view, Donald Trump would be a disaster for this country if he were to be elected president. I think in fact ... and I say this in all honesty, he is the worst candidate of any major political party that I have seen in my adult life. And I think he would be an international embarrassment for our country. So I'm going to do everything I can to see that Trump is not elected president. Hillary Clinton – it is no great secret – and I have our differences of opinion. I did run against her for president and we have real differences. On the other hand, on many important issues, I think Clinton's position is strong."
On clarifying his comments in The Burlington Free Press about releasing information on his personal finances:
"What I said is that I did release a personal financial disclosure form as a presidential candidate. Totally appropriate. By the time the next form came around, I was not going to become president of the United States. And it takes a little bit of time, and a little bit of energy and I'm running around the country. And that same information is in my Senate personal financial disclosure form. So given the fact that I was not going to become president – the campaign had been lost by then – we didn't think it was necessary to do."
On the book he is working on:
"Perhaps the most important part of what it will be is simply - I don't know what we're going to call the section, but it will be 40 percent of the book - is an agenda for a new America. Where do we go from here? How do we transform a nation which has massive levels of income and wealth inequality, a declining middle class, too much poverty, not enough people have health care, climate change threat, trade disasters? It's going to be a fairly detailed program of, you know, in a sense I guess, what I would have done if I were elected president of the United States, the agenda that I would have brought forth. And I think it's important that we get those ideas out there and obviously I hope the book is widely read, so people have a sense of where at least I think we should be going as a nation.
"The other half of the book, or maybe 60 percent of the book, you know, will be talking about the campaign, what I learned about the campaign. I visited, if my memory is correct, some 46 states in the country. And I saw a lot and I met with extraordinary people and just had experiences that in a million years I otherwise would not have had."