"I think the future of our country is with the progressive movement and I would have liked to have seen more progressives have a chance to get out there and to talk about their vision of the future of America," Sanders told Washington Post Live of the DNC choice to highlight Republicans like John Kasich and Colin Powell over progressives like the freshman squad.
Sanders, I-Vt.,said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez deserved a traditional speaking slot at the virtual convention, and the only reason she got 60 seconds is that he asked the New York Democrat to be one of his two nominating speakers.
The two-time Democratic Party presidential runner-up also blamed the Democratic National Committee and the media for the "confusion" over Ocasio-Cortez's remarks for implying the progressive squad leader was speaking on behalf of Joe Biden, when, in fact, the DNC didn't invite her for that role.
Ocasio-Cortez got lots of backlash for not mentioning Biden in her convention remarks and for focusing on Sanders. But Sanders said the criticism could have been avoided if the DNC had explained that AOC wasn't given a traditional speaking slot, but was rather performing the "perfunctory" duty of nominating him.
"I think what the DNC was saying is: 'Oh, she's speaking'. They didn't invite her. I think they should have — and that's a whole other story," Sanders said. "They should have had more progressive speakers."
Sanders also defended Ocasio-Cortez's speech, which he said was misunderstood.
"She was accused of not, you know, saying she supported Biden — she was nominating me," Sanders continued. "She is, of course, supporting Biden. So I think the confusion there rests with, I think, what the DNC was saying, and certainly, media not understanding what happens at a convention."
During the interview, Sanders didn't rule out joining Biden's cabinet if the former vice president defeats President Trump in November. "I would give it consideration," he said.
It's customary for the Democratic primary runner-up to be formally nominated at the convention and have their delegates counted in the states roll call.
In 2016, then-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, was one of the nominating speakers for Sanders at the convention in Philadelphia, marveling how a "somewhat frumpy and maybe even sometimes grumpy 70-year-old guy could become the voice for millions."
This year, Sanders chose Bob King, former president of the United Auto Workers union, and Ocasio-Cortez.
"I think there is some confusion about that, and I think the reason for the confusion has to do with the DNC and it has to do with the media," Sanders said.
During the one-minute speech, she seconded the nomination for her mentor, saying that Sanders "organized a historic grassroots campaign to reclaim our democracy."
"I asked Alexandria," Sanders said. "We were told by the Biden campaign, which was fine, that … you'll have two one-minutes slots [for the nomination speeches]."
Ocasio-Cortez has blasted NBC News for tweet about her speech headlined: "In one of the shortest speeches of the DNC, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did not endorse Joe Biden: 'I hereby second the nomination of Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America.'"
She wanted the news network to apologize for making people "confused and angry."
"NBC’s misleading headline, which had thousands of people confused and angry, wasn’t a mistake. It was clickbait. It wasn’t just a tweet, either. It was repeated in other headlines & posts," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.