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Sanders gets booed after endorsing Hillary

Last updated on: July 26, 2016 05:06 IST

Ahead of the commencement of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Bernie Sanders held court in Philadelphia before a large group of supporters in an appearance that showed the party still has a steep hill to climb in uniting.

Bernie Sanders urged reluctant supporters to vote for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in order to bar Donald Trump's path to the White House, slamming the Republican as a "demagogue."

IMAGE: Bernie Sanders made a last-ditch effort Monday to quell anger among his supporters against party leaders and Hillary Clinton, as the Democratic convention opened amid new threats to party unity. Photograph: Bryan Woolston/Reuters

"We have got to defeat Donald Trump. We have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine," the Vermont senator told a rally held hours before the opening of the Democratic National Convention.

"Trump is a bully and a demagogue," said Sanders whose call to support party nominee Clinton in November was met with loud jeers and cries of "We want Bernie!" from the fired-up crowd.

When Sanders offered an explicit endorsement of Clinton, his supporters weren't happy with the call, loudly booing as he said, "We have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine." As the jeering lingered, Sanders waved a hand, calling the supporters, "brother and sisters," and continued to speak, underscoring his thoughts on Trump as a "bully and a demagogue."

IMAGE: Senator Bernie Sander was booed by his electoral delegates gathered at the Convention Center during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Bryan Woolston/Reuters

The four-day confab in Philadelphia got off to a rocky start following a major internal row over leaked emails that showed party leaders sought to undermine Sanders in the party primaries.

Many of the die-hard Sanders supporters who descended on Philadelphia loathe the party flag bearer Clinton so much they are unwilling to back her -- even if the cost is a Trump presidency .

IMAGE: Senator Bernie Sander looks on at the crowds at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Bryan Woolston/Reuters

Sanders has officially endorsed his rival and has been offered a prime speaking slot later on Monday at the convention, during which he will stress that the party mission is to prevent Trump from becoming the 45th president of the United States.

He hammered home that message to his supporters.

"Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign. Throughout this campaign he has insulted Mexicans and Latinos. He has insulted Muslims and insulted women and African Americans.

"It is not just my opinion. That is what many conservative Republicans believe. Trump is a danger for the future of our country and must be defeated.

"And I intend to do everything to see that he is defeated."