Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders Reuters

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is leaving open the possibility of another presidential bid, telling The Associated Press in an interview on Thursday that he wants to focus on helping the party rebuild its base after Donald Trump's victory.

"Four years is a long time from now," the 75-year-old senator told the news agency, noting that he faces re-election to the Senate in 2018. But, he added, "We'll take one thing at a time, but I'm not ruling out anything."

Sanders told AP that millions of working-class voters' decision to back Trump over Hillary Clinton was "an embarrassment" to the party and that Democrats must take a strong stand against the role of corporate interests in politics.

"It is an embarrassment, I think, to the entire of Democratic Party that millions of white working-class people decided to vote for Mr. Trump, which suggests that the Democratic message of standing up for working people no longer holds much sway among workers in this country," Sanders said.

He declined to criticize his primary rival, Clinton, attributing Tuesday's election loss to a "lack of enthusiasm" among Democrats.

"People just did not come out to vote," Sanders told AP, adding he would support Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota to become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Sanders ran for the Democratic presidential nomination but lost to Clinton before endorsing her and campaigning extensively for her.

He told AP on Thursday Clinton has had "an exemplary political career. She has served the public for many, many decades and has broken many barriers," adding that "she deserves an enormous amount of credit. She worked extraordinarily hard in this campaign."

At the same time he added the party as a whole was unable to make a strong enough case to struggling workers, particularly in the industrial Midwest, who sided with Trump.

"You cannot be a party which on one hand says we're in favor of working people, we're in favor of the needs of young people but we don't quite have the courage to take on Wall Street and the billionaire class. People do not believe that. You've got to decide which side you're on," said Sanders.

While he said he was hopeful he would be able to work with the incoming Trump administration, he made clear that would not be likely.

"I hope I'm wrong, but I believe that he is a fraud, and I think despite all of his rhetoric about being a champion of the working class, it will turn out to be hollow," Sanders said of the president-elect.

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