The Rev. Jesse Jackson announced his support for Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, in a Saturday afternoon news conference with reporters in Chicago and called for “reconciliation” between her and her rival, Bernie Sanders.
Jackson, 74, recalled meeting Clinton in the Mississippi Delta and cited her work with the Children’s Defense Fund and, later, in the White House for a comprehensive health-care system.
“We trust her to work on health care, to fight for the poor,” said Jackson, with a couple of sheets of note paper in his hand. “We trust her to fight in the defense of children.”
Jackson said he had the “highest regard for Bernie,” recalling Sanders’s support for him during his own presidential campaign, and praising Sanders for his work on Wall Street reform and for a $15 hourly minimum wage.
“The campaign is technically over, but the crusade is not,” Jackson said. “I support Hillary’s campaign and Bernie’s crusade, and they are reconcilable.”
Jackson called on the candidates to work toward that reconciliation, saying he had been in touch with Clinton’s spouse, former president Bill Clinton, and with Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver.
“Fighting to keep the issues on the table that have been raised is appropriate,” he said. “The fight can keep going, but in ways that does not give the adversary sound bites.”
The reverend, who attended Friday’s funeral services for Muhammad Ali in Louisville, spoke Saturday at a memorial that bears the names of several hundred children who were slain in street violence in Chicago.
“I wanted people around the nation to see the sense of desperation here,” he said when a reporter asked him about his choice of the location for his speech. “Down the streets, you see abandoned buildings and vacant lots.”
Jackson said he expected Clinton would develop an urban policy to relieve what he called “this scourge of violence” and create more economic opportunity.
“Public housing’s not being built. Private housing’s been foreclosed,” he said. “There’s analysis every day about disparities in terms of employment, education and life options. There appears to be no remedies, no commitment to invest and alter our condition.”
Jackson’s endorsement is the latest by a major Democratic figure since Clinton secured enough delegates to effectively end the party’s long primary season with a victory at the polls in California on Tuesday. President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) endorsed the former secretary of state on Thursday.
Bill Clinton is expected in Washington on Saturday.