Just hours after the staff of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign announced plans for his kickoff event, Gov. Peter Shumlin tweeted his intention to support Hillary Clinton for president.
Shumlin says he stands by his decision and that the timing of his support was purely coincidental.
Speaking on Vermont Edition Thursday, the governor said he counts Sen. Bernie Sanders as a close friend, but that during primary campaigns you have to make awkward choices. And this being a presidential primary, the decision is even more difficult.
“If it was a choice for Hillary Clinton for U.S. Senator of Vermont or Bernie Sanders for U.S. Senator of Vermont, I’m voting for Bernie,” he said.
Despite throwing his support behind Clinton, Shumlin says that he's glad Sanders has decided to run.
“Now, in terms of single payer and other issues, I am delighted that Bernie’s in this race, because I think he’s going to raise issues that I care about. That he cares about, that will help influence the debate going forward,” Shumlin says.
Shumlin believes that when you're deciding on who to endorse for president, you have to look at more than a few select issues:
“Who’s best capable? Who’s best trained? Who is most ready to take on the financial challenge, not only of making sure this economy works for the middle class but also the international crises that seem to double by the day?”
Shumlin says that President Obama has done a very good job of rebuilding the nation's economy and Hillary Clinton would continue that work. He also believes that like her husband, former President Bill Clinton, Hillary has been fighting for the middle class all of her life.
Regarding the inconvenient timing of his announcement coinciding with the Sanders campaign kickoff notice, Shumlin says it was complete happenstance.
“I was not aware that Bernie was going to announce on Tuesday when I made my decision three days ago to endorse Hillary,” he said.
Bernie Sanders will make his formal announcement to enter the presidential race on Tuesday afternoon at 5 p.m. from Burlington's Waterfront Park.