Bernie Sanders explains the long wait for his Hillary Clinton endorsement

Sanders endorses Clinton
Sanders endorses Clinton 05:53

Last Updated Jul 13, 2016 9:39 AM EDT

Just a day after Bernie Sanders gave his full-throated support to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the Vermont senator discussed the thought process behind his decision in an interview with "CBS This Morning."

"I'm standing up for working families and the middle class in saying that Donald Trump would be a disaster for the future of this country," Sanders said early Wednesday. "What this campaign is about is taking a hard look at which candidate is gonna do more for ordinary Americans and I think that choice is very, very clear. ... Clinton is by far the superior candidate for the middle class, in my mind."

Sanders said the long wait for his endorsement -- which came Tuesday at Clinton's New Hampshire rally -- was partly to ensure that the Democratic platform would be "the most progressive platform in the history of the party."

Sanders touted the progressive gains in the party's platform draft, which now calls for a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage, rebuilding public infrastructure and other policies that the Vermont senator has long backed.

"These are ideas -- more or less -- that Secretary Clinton is supportive" of, Sanders said.

In a separate interview with CBSN, The Vermont senator responded to some dissatisfaction from supporters after his endorsement of Clinton.

"I don't think most of them are calling me a sell-out," Sanders said, noting that "in the real world, you've got to make difficult choices."

When asked on "CBS This Morning" whether he believed his primary campaign "moved Clinton to the left," Sanders replied: "I think when you get 13 million votes -- which is what we got -- when you win 22 states, when young people all over this country are demanding real change, Secretary Clinton and her team are smart enough to understand that they have got to go where the action is and they have to move to where the people want to go."

The Vermont senator also lauded Clinton's recent commitment to a free college tuition plan for families that make under $125,000, along with her promise to expand health care access -- though he admitted it fell short of his call for a single-payer system for universal health care. Sanders additionally praised Clinton's pledge to "move away from fossil fuels."

Bernie Sanders interview 07:25

In contrast, Sanders harshly criticized Clinton's general election rival, Donald Trump, for his policies on health care and environmental sustainability.

"Donald Trump wants to throw 20 million people off of the health insurance they now have and cut Medicaid," Sanders said. "Donald Trump does not accept science, [and] thinks that climate change is a hoax."

Pressed on what policy concessions he didn't receive from the talks with Clinton's campaign following her rise as the party's presumptive nominee, Sanders joked, "What we didn't get is me becoming president of the United States of America."

On whether he had discussed with Clinton the possibility of a position in her administration, Sanders said it was a topic they hadn't broached.

"That's something we have not talked about at all," he said.

Asked whether he would miss the Secret Service protection he had as a presidential candidate, Sanders replied, "Yes and no -- now I don't have to tell anybody when I'm going to the bathroom."