WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30:  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol January 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. Sanders and other members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives called for the reintroduction of a resolution "to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen" during the press conference. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sanders not interested in advice from Clinton
02:56 - Source: CNN
Henderson, Nevada CNN  — 

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday rejected the notion that he did not support Hillary Clinton after he lost to her in 2016.

Sanders was asked at a town with seniors in Nevada if he would support the eventual Democratic nominee, to which he answered, “absolutely and positively yes.” A woman in the audience interjected, “Where were you in the last election, you didn’t do that?”

Sanders was quick to defend his support of Clinton in the general election in 2016.

“Oh really? I didn’t know that,” he responded. “I thought I ran all over the country into Nevada and everybody else working as hard as I humanly could to see that Hillary Clinton was elected president of the United States.”

“And one of the things, I take a little bit of umbrage at, OK, is just that,” he added.

Sanders in 2020 speaks frequently about 2016, but only to highlight the ascent of his policies within the Democratic party. The hard feelings – among both his and Clinton’s supporters – that escalated during that primary and hardened after Donald Trump’s victory are rarely discussed, but never too far from the surface. When questioned, Sanders, like he did on Thursday, is quick to note his considerable travel on the nominee’s behalf. By his campaign’s count, Sanders did 39 rallies for Clinton in 13 states over the final three months of the 2016 general election.

Still, Sanders occasionally runs into criticism from voters and party operatives who believe that his candidacy – in particular his decision to continue his 2016 primary campaign even after the contest was effectively over – ended up hurting Clinton that November.

Clinton herself accused Sanders of damaging her electoral chances in her book “What Happened,” which was published after she lost the election.

“His attacks caused lasting damage, making it harder to unify progressives in the general election and paving the way for Trump’s ‘Crooked Hillary’ campaign,” Clinton wrote in 2017.

CNN’s Gregory Krieg contributed to this story.